5 observations from Sixers-Spurs


5 observations from Sixers-Spurs

With a second straight loss, this one a 109-85 defeat to the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers fell back to an even .500 (see Instant Replay).

Hey, it had to happen sooner or later.

Regardless, the veteran-laden Spurs showed no sign of slowing down, improving to 7-1 this season for the second-best record in the NBA. The 4-4 Sixers will look to bounce back on Wednesday when Houston comes to town.

Here are a few things that popped out at is during Monday night’s game.

1. The Spurs are good
It’s one thing for a team to execute and to run a crisp offense with a ton of ball movement. But it’s another to play as hard as the Spurs. Mix the execution with the tenacity and it’s a pretty lethal mix.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Spurs have committed the third-fewest turnovers in the league and have the fifth-best shooting percentage in the West.

More telling is the Spurs ripped the Knicks by 31 points on Sunday afternoon and played without future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan against the Sixers on Monday, and didn’t miss a beat.

It’s not going to last forever. Eventually Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, etc. will retire and move on. But for now there are few teams that get after it like the Spurs. Enjoy it while it lasts.

2. Turner creeping out
The Sixers’ leading scorer poured in 20 more points against the Spurs on Monday night and was one of the few players that had any production worth mentioning in the loss to the Spurs. And though Turner’s scoring is up slightly over the last two games, his efficiency has dipped.

Turner scored a career-high 31 points on 9 for 23 shooting in the double-OT loss on Saturday with 13 shots from deeper than 15 feet. Against the Spurs, Turner chucked up eight more from beyond 15 feet.

The result: 5 for 21 on shots 15 feet or longer. On shots from 14 feet and closer, Turner was 13 for 23.

3. Hawes posting numbers
It’s a contract year for Sixers center Spencer Hawes and, as expected, his stat lines have been consistently good. On Monday, Hawes notched his fifth double-double (17 points, 13 boards) and got there in record time.

Hawes grabbed his 10th rebound with 10:49 left in the third quarter after sitting on nine for more than half of the second quarter.

4. MCW vs. Tony Parker
This one didn’t go very well for the rookie. In 32 minutes, Michael Carter-Williams went 2 for 11 for eight points, with four assists and two turnovers. Both of Carter-Williams’ field goals came on layups and he went 2 for 6 on shots in the paint.

The veteran Parker logged just 29 minutes, but shot 7 for 12 for 14 points with nine assists. Conversely, Parker went 5 for 5 on shots in the paint.

Parker played just 26 minutes in the blowout victory over the Knicks on Sunday, hitting 8 for 12 from the field.

5. Orton sits out again
With Duncan taking a rest, big man Daniel Orton figured to log some minutes against the Spurs. Instead, the center sat out for the third straight game with a sore knee.

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel has had surgery on his sore left knee, and the Sixers have not disclosed a timetable for the disgruntled center's return.

Noel has been out since the team's first preseason game. He initially had a left groin strain before experiencing soreness in the knee during rehab, and it was discovered he had an inflamed plica. 

The team is calling the surgery a "minor elective arthroscopic procedure." It was performed in New York by Dr. Riley J. Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Noel eventually will travel to Birmingham, Ala. to rehab with associate clinical director Kevin Wilk at Champion Sports Medicine.

The Sixers expect to have a timetable for his return once Noel returns to Philadelphia. According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Noel is expected to miss three to five weeks. 

This has been a rough preseason for Noel, who hasn't hidden his displeasure with his role on the Sixers' jammed frontcourt. The team has until Oct. 31 to extend his rookie contract but, per a report in the Inquirer earlier this month, the two sides have yet to discuss it. 

Sixers still deciding who will start opener, how long Jahlil Okafor will play

Sixers still deciding who will start opener, how long Jahlil Okafor will play

CAMDEN, N.J. — Brett Brown doesn’t have many options at his disposal for opening night against the Thunder, but a day before the Sixers' regular-season tip-off, he still is considering how to utilize his shorthanded roster.

What Brown is sure of is Joel Embiid will be capped at 20 minutes in five four-minute segments. Embiid, coming off two years of foot injuries, began the preseason playing 12.

The Sixers have not locked in a minutes restriction on Jahlil Okafor. The second-year big man aggravated his right knee during training camp and played eight minutes in his first preseason game last Friday.

“You’ll intermittently sub that and Richaun Holmes will make up the rest,” Brown said after practice Tuesday. “The five-spot is locked in with those three, and I feel like tomorrow we’ll be able to better figure out how many four-minute sections does Jahlil actually get.”

Brown started Sergio Rodriguez, Gerald Henderson, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Embiid in the final two preseason games. On Tuesday he did not announce a starting five, specifically a point guard. That role is between Rodriguez and T.J. McConnell because of the injury to Jerryd Bayless (wrist). 

“Still considering a lot,” Brown said of the one-spot. “Not prepared right now to say one thing or another.”

Rodriguez, who has been practicing with the white squad, anticipates he will be given the nod. It will be his first regular-season game in the NBA since 2010.

“Yes, I expect, but for me that doesn’t matter,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to be a big game for everybody. Everybody needs to be ready. We will need all we have to beat them.”

The Sixers' inactive list includes Bayless, Ben Simmons (foot) and Nerlens Noel (knee), all of whom could be starters if healthy. With so many injuries to major contributors and the implementation of segmented minutes, Brown will have to look down his bench over the course of four quarters.

“We’re going to have to go 10-deep. I bet we could even go 11-deep,” he said. “We’re in a very unusual circumstance that players can’t play multiple minutes. ... That, coupled with I think you can’t expect to have the energy and effort that we want on the floor without giving people six-minute chunks.” 

The Sixers and Thunder face off at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.