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Sixers will open vs. Celtics in MGM Resorts NBA Summer League

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Sixers will open vs. Celtics in MGM Resorts NBA Summer League

You thought the summer would bring a pause to the Sixers-Celtics rivalry? Not so fast.

The Sixers open up play in the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League against the Celtics at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center on July 6 (4:30 p.m./ESPN). 

The Sixers follow that up on July 7 with a matchup against the 2017 Las Vegas summer league champion Los Angeles Lakers (8:30 p.m./ESPN2). They close out preliminary play against the Washington Wizards on July 9 (2:30 p.m./NBA TV).

For the first time ever, the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League will feature all 30 NBA teams. Each squad will play three preliminary contests before being seeded for the tournament-style portion of the event.

The MGM Resorts NBA Summer League opens with a record 10 games on July 6 and runs through July 17 when the championship game will be held at 10 p.m.

Sixers' Amir Johnson, a Las Vegas resident, shaken by Strip massacre

Sixers' Amir Johnson, a Las Vegas resident, shaken by Strip massacre

CAMDEN, N.J. -- When Sixers forward Amir Johnson bought an offseason home minutes off the Las Vegas Strip three years ago, he never imagined there would be an attack in the city.

On Sunday night, more than 50 people were killed and over 500 hurt when a gunman opened fire into a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

“Devastating,” Johnson said.

Johnson was visibly shaken by the incident Monday afternoon at practice. His mother texted him from Las Vegas to let him know she was safe. Those who were harmed were on his mind.

“It almost leaves you lost for words and it had me tear up this morning just to kind of see, just think about the people that had the kids and all that shooting, shooting on the Strip,” he said. “It’s a very sad moment.”

Johnson said he plans to research more details of the shooting as they become available. He pointed to the possibility of tougher gun laws.

“I feel like we should make the gun laws a little bit more strict because I hate to hear stuff like this,” Johnson said. “With the school shootings, too, and they have guns in the school, they should just clean up this mess, man.”

The Las Vegas area has become an offseason home for many players around the NBA. Many, like Johnson, train at the well-known Impact Basketball on East Sunset Road in the summer. Las Vegas is also the site of Summer League as well as Team USA Basketball events.

Johnson, 30, didn’t think twice about being in the city. Now he does.

“It almost kind of second guesses you like, ‘Man, should I go to Vegas?’” Johnson said. “Because people [are] constantly coming in and out, hanging on the Strip. Then you’ve got to kind of second guess, man, maybe another massacre shooting is going to come out.

“It’s really scary, man, when you think about all the stuff that’s going on and now you’ve got to be worried about protesting, you’ve got hurricanes coming, and you just want to be safe. All you can do is really sit back and pray and keep your head on a swivel.”

The Sixers discussed the shooting before practice as part of a regular team discussion on current events.

“I would have never thought Vegas,” Johnson said. “Vegas is the fun spot.”

Rockets' 2018 NBA championship odds soar after trade, Sixers moving up

Rockets' 2018 NBA championship odds soar after trade, Sixers moving up

Houston, we have liftoff ... at least on the Rockets' odds, that is.

Bovada on Thursday released its latest odds for the 2018 NBA championship and Las Vegas seems to think Houston's chances have soared after the Rockets picked up All-Star Chris Paul in a trade with the Clippers on Wednesday. After opening at 20/1 when the 2017 Finals concluded June 12, the Rockets are now third among all 30 teams at 12/1.

Golden State and Cleveland remain at the top with 4/7 and 15/4 odds, respectively, with Boston and San Antonio tied for fourth at 14/1.

But if you look just a bit further down the list, you'll see a bit of a surprise lurking in a tie for ninth at 66/1.

Yep, you guessed it, the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers share their spot on the list with the Clippers, Lakers, Bucks and Thunder, but are ahead of several playoff teams from last season including Utah, Memphis, Portland and Atlanta.

Clearly, it's not just Philadelphians trusting The Process. The Sixers opened at 100/1, and unsurprisingly, their trade up to draft Markelle Fultz has now pushed them even higher in the minds of Vegas oddsmakers.

Also of note, Bovada has a number of interesting offseason prop bets listed. Although Vegas thinks Blake Griffin, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka are more likely to stay put than not, they give Gordon Hayward 10/11 odds to land with the Celtics and Paul Millsap 4/5 odds of moving out to Denver.