5 observations from Sixers-Wizards

slideshow-sixers-spencer-hawes-uspresswire.jpg

5 observations from Sixers-Wizards

BOX SCORE

After the surprising 3-0 start to the season, the Sixers have dropped two straight after Wednesday’s 116-102 loss to the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).

The Wizards got a bit of revenge from last Friday when they coughed up a second-half lead of 14 point to lose by seven points in their home opener.

Perhaps Wednesday’s performance was more like what we can expect from the Sixers this season with plenty of points and lots of turnovers.

Here are a few interesting tidbits from the game against the Wizards:

1. MCW vs. John Wall, Part II
It was a much different battle between the point guards than last Friday. Instead of a free-flowing first half where John Wall lit up the scoreboard, the Sixers were able to contain him … somewhat.

Wall scored 24 points on five three-pointers with nine assists and one turnover. He spread out the scoring, too, as opposed to getting 23 of his 26 points in the first half last Friday. Wall scored nine points in the first half, 12 more in the third quarter and three in the fourth.

Michael Carter-Williams turned in another solid performance, hitting for 19 points on 8-for-21 shooting with seven assists and five rebounds. However, the rookie struggled with his shooting, going 3 for 9 on shots longer than 15-feet.

2. Running into trouble
It’s no secret, the Sixers want to run at every opportunity. Headed into Wednesday’s game the Sixers averaged 105 points per game and 50.5 percent of those came in the paint.

But with the up-tempo style, a team is prone to mistakes. The Sixers averaged 19 turnovers per game headed into Wednesday only to turn it over 21 more times.

For now coach Brett Brown will live the turnovers,

“I’m willing to let the young guys run and live with the mistakes,” Brown said before the game.

3. Anderson hits a few
Four-year veteran James Anderson has struggled with his outside shooting through the first four games of the season, hitting just 7 of 24, including 4 for 14 from three-point range.

In Wednesday’s game Anderson scored 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting with two three-pointers.

Anderson’s shooting is an important development for the Sixers. If he can hit shots at a respectable clip, he’ll create better spacing on offense.

4. Nene returns
After missing two straight games with a calf injury, Wizards power forward Nene returned to the lineup. Though the veteran big man created trouble for the Sixers in the paint and created more shots for center Marcin Gortat (19 points, 12 boards), Nene’s presence didn’t show in the rebounding column.

The Sixers out-rebounded the Wizards 30-16 during the first half, even though they trailed by nine points and won the battle on the glass, 62-49. Nene had five boards.

Nene made a difference elsewhere on the stat sheet, though. With Nene on the sidelines, the Sixers scored 74 points in the paint in last Friday’s victory. On Wednesday with Nene hanging around, the Sixers got 42 points in the paint.

5. Hawes stays consistent
It’s a contract year, so the numbers matter for Spencer Hawes. The Sixers’ lone 7-footer had 23 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for his third double-double of the season.

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

NEW ORLEANS -- Of all the players Joel Embiid could be compared to, a similarity between a 7-foot-2, 270-something-pound center and a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard wouldn’t seem like a match.

That’s exactly what Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry sees, however, when looking at Embiid and reigning MVP Steph Curry.

“He’s different than anybody that’s been in this league in a long, long time,” Gentry said Thursday before the Sixers win over the Pelicans. “He’s a tremendous talent, he really is. I’ve never seen a guy that size, and with that kind of strength, that’s got such a soft touch. He shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry. It’s so soft when it leaves his hand.”

Curry is shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three. Embiid is 45.8 percent from the floor is 44.2 percent from long range.

Embiid flashed a big smile and paused to react when hearing of Gentry’s praise. He had been feeling hard on himself after going 0 for 5 beyond the arc against the Pelicans (see story).

“Steph is probably one of the best shooters in the league right now," Embiid said. "So that compliment means a lot."