Sacramento Kings

2 NBA players tested positive for COVID-19 in Orlando; Richaun Holmes breaches 'bubble'

2 NBA players tested positive for COVID-19 in Orlando; Richaun Holmes breaches 'bubble'

Former Sixer Richaun Holmes breached the NBA’s health and safety regulations by picking up a food delivery, he said Monday afternoon. 

Holmes will now have to quarantine for eight additional days. 

Earlier Monday, ESPN reported that the Rockets’ Bruno Caboclo unintentionally broke quarantine. 

Shortly after Holmes released his statement, the NBA and NBPA announced that two players of the 322 tested in Orlando since July 7 were positive for the coronavirus. Those players never cleared quarantine, according to the joint statement. 

All-Star Rockets guard Russell Westbrook announced Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19 before Houston’s departure and is quarantined. New Sixer Ryan Broekhoff said Sunday he didn’t travel with the Sixers to Orlando so that he could focus on his family after his wife tested positive.

Joel Embiid was skeptical last week that all players would follow the league’s protocols.

“Some guys like to go out and some guys like to do stuff, (there are) some guys that like adventure,” he said. “So that’s the way I’m thinking. I know myself. I know I’m not going to put everybody else at risk, but the question is, is everybody else going to do the same? And just being around this business, I surely don’t think so.”

A second-round pick of the Sixers in 2015, Holmes played the first three seasons of his career in Philadelphia as an athletic, high-energy backup big man. He’s had the best season of his career with the Kings, posting 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this year. 

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Shake Milton keeps rolling, Tobias Harris and Al Horford step up for Sixers in win over Kings

Shake Milton keeps rolling, Tobias Harris and Al Horford step up for Sixers in win over Kings

BOX SCORE 

The Sixers didn’t forget how to win on the road.

They won their first game away from Wells Fargo Center since Jan. 20 on Thursday night, a 125-108 decision over the Kings.  

The victory improves the Sixers, who were still without Ben Simmons (nerve impingement in lower back), Joel Embiid (left shoulder sprain) and Josh Richardson (concussion protocol), to 38-25. 

On Saturday night, they’ll wrap up their West Coast trip against the Warriors. 

Here are observations on the win: 

Harris and Horford carry the load early  

We’ve scrutinized Tobias Harris and Al Horford more than usual recently. In the context of the Sixers’ injuries and the big contracts the two received this summer, their performances have merited plenty of criticism. 

Harris was strong in the first half, scoring 19 of his 28 points within the game’s opening 18 minutes.

Horford had 10 of his 18 points in the first period and also had eight rebounds and six assists. He was a ludicrous plus-41. 

Neither player was as good during the second half, when Sacramento made the Sixers uncomfortable after trailing by as many as 20, but they gave the Sixers what they needed in this one. 

Big edge from behind the arc 

The Sixers’ offensive philosophy without Simmons, Embiid and Richardson has been clear: Spread the floor and launch threes. 

They put up 37 threes Thursday, making 17. With the Kings converting 11 threes, the Sixers scored 18 more points than Sacramento from beyond the arc.

Coming into the game, the Sixers were allowing the fewest three-point makes (10.2) and attempts (28.9) per game in the NBA. Their three-point defense has been a strength throughout the season, though Buddy Hield caught fire in the second half on Thursday. 

When the Sixers are “hunting threes” to this extent and hitting them at such a high rate, they have a blueprint for winning in the absence of their two All-Stars. As a team, they’ve made over 40 percent of their threes in four straight games. Eight Sixers made at least one three Thursday. 

A hopeful lineup  

Brett Brown’s decision to use a lineup missing both Harris and Horford with 3:24 left in the first quarter backfired.

He must have been hoping that Alec Burks could create offense, Raul Neto could facilitate, Norvel Pelle could protect the rim and Furkan Korkmaz and Glenn Robinson III could knock down threes. None of those players performed any of those tasks during an abysmal stretch. Burks was unsuccessful on a couple of drives to the rim, Korkmaz missed an open three, Neto committed a bad turnover that led to a Kent Bazemore layup on the other end and Sacramento quickly went on a 12-0 run to tie the game. That forced Brown to call a timeout and get Horford and Mike Scott into the game.

Brown is obviously in a difficult spot without three of his typical starters, but the idea that he could buy a few decent minutes with that lineup was … optimistic. 

The Shake Show keeps rolling 

Regardless of what happens Saturday against Golden State, it seems safe to say that Shake Milton will have been the best part of the road trip for the Sixers. 

Even when his jump shot inevitably stops falling at this absurd rate, he looks like a player who can help in other ways. Though he’s surely on opposing scouting reports at this point, he’s still making sensible, confident reads and getting to his preferred spots. The end of the second quarter Tuesday against the Lakers was the only stretch during the trip that he appeared rushed or rattled. 

“There’s a cocky side that’s emerging, which I love,” Brett Brown told reporters pregame. “I just think his attitude, his mindset is as important as anything.”

Milton had 20 points and three assists. Burks (17 points) and Neto (16 points) also did well as backup ball handlers, providing offense when Harris and Horford were quiet in the second half. 

Scott’s value

Mike Scott scored in double figures for the third straight game, recording 11 points on 5 for 10 shooting, seven rebounds and four assists. 

Outside of his scoring, the no-nonsense approach and hustle that originally made him endearing to Sixers fans have been valuable in these difficult circumstances. Those qualities have mostly been nice to have in theory this year, but not especially helpful. He’s struggled for long stretches and seemed lost on offense when his jumper hasn’t been falling.

Scott still might not ultimately be a regular piece of the Sixers’ playoff rotation, but he’s at least reminded Brown that, at his best, he brings versatility — the 31-year-old again saw time at backup center — along with three-point shooting and toughness. Again, he hasn’t been good for much of this season, but his play is another positive development from the West Coast trip.

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Sixers at Kings: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers at Kings: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

The Sixers are in Sacramento for the third game of their four-game West Coast trip, seeking to snap a nine-game road losing streak. 

Here are the essentials for Thursday night’s game between the 37-25 Sixers and 27-34 Kings:

When: 10 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 9:30
Where: Golden 1 Center 
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And three are three storylines to watch: 

Injury woes 

Ben Simmons (nerve impingement in lower back), Joel Embiid (left shoulder sprain) and Josh Richardson (concussion protocol) all remain out.

For the Kings, Marvin Bagley is still out with left foot soreness, while Richaun Holmes is out with a right shoulder injury. 

De’Aaron Fox (right lower abdominal tightness) and Cory Joseph (right heel contusion) are probable. Fox scored 31 points Tuesday in the Kings’ win over the Wizards, the team's sixth in the last seven games. 

Still in the spotlight … 

The Sixers were competitive against the two best teams in the Western Conference despite missing Embiid, Simmons and (mostly) Richardson. Shake Milton’s huge day against the Clippers, Mike Scott finding his shot and Glenn Robinson III finally hitting his first three as a Sixer on Tuesday night — and later sinking two more on his way to 25 points — were all positives. Al Horford and Tobias Harris, on the other hand, were not.

Horford’s issues were glaring. He struggled against Montrezl Harrell and Anthony Davis and shot a combined 6 for 19 from the floor.

Harris gave the team 43 points in Los Angeles but, in 74 minutes, didn’t make a single free throw (0 for 2). Getting to the foul line has never been one of Harris’ strengths, but the Sixers need much more than that, especially without Embiid and Simmons. 

The rebounding drop-off 

From the regular-season opener to New Year’s Eve, the Sixers led the NBA in rebounding percentage at 52.9 percent and had a 23-13 record. Since then, they’ve taken just 49.2 percent of available rebounds, which is 20th in the league, and gone 14-12. 

Embiid, the best rebounder on the team, has missed 12 of those 26 games. 

That are plenty of other reasons the Sixers have performed below expectations in 2020, but rebounding is certainly one factor. 



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