5 observations from Sixers-Wizards

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5 observations from Sixers-Wizards

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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.

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

Two people with knowledge of the situation tell The Associated Press that the Miami Heat have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent guard Dion Waiters.

The two sides came to agreement on Monday. Waiters will make $2.9 million. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal.

Waiters averaged 9.8 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder last year, but had several big games in the playoffs. He played particularly well against Dallas and San Antonio in the playoffs before his role was reduced in the seven-game loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Waiters will give the Heat another scorer off the bench (see full story).

Blazers: C.J. McCullom inked to four-year extension
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A person familiar with the deal confirms that guard CJ McCollum has agreed to a four-year, $106 million contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday because the deal hadn't been formally announced by the team. It was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

McCollum, who was named the NBA's Most Improved Player, averaged 20.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Blazers during the regular season. He raised his scoring average by more than 14 points over the previous season.

As the 10th overall pick for the Blazers in the 2013 draft, McCollum bided his time on the bench for his first two seasons. He became a starter in the backcourt with Damian Lillard last season after four of the team's starters departed in the offseason (see full story).

Michael Jordan donates $2 million to ease racial tensions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan is trying to help ease tension between African-Americans and law enforcement.

The NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner said Monday he's giving $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The aim is to help build trust following several shootings around the country.

Jordan says in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday that "as a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers," (see full story).

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

The Sixers continued to add to their roster Monday, announcing the signing of guard Brandon Paul. 

Paul participated on the Sixers' summer league squad in Las Vegas, where he averaged 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 19.5 minutes. He also played for the Hornets in Utah. 

The 25-year-old went undrafted out Illinois in 2013 and has been playing overseas and in the D-League since then. Last season, he led FIATC Joventut (Spain) in scoring with 13.2 points per game. Paul also has been a member of the Canton Charge (D-League) and Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). 

Next season he could play for the Sixers' Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. 

Paul is one of several offseason additions for the Sixers. The team has signed Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez, James Webb III and Shawn Long. The Sixers also have reportedly agreed to a deal with Cat Barber. 

Charles Barkley: Sixers can be 'really good, really quickly'

Charles Barkley: Sixers can be 'really good, really quickly'

Charles Barkley is jumping on the Sixers bandwagon.

"I think the Sixers gonna get really good, really quickly, but it all depends on (Joel) Embiid," Barkley said. "They're not gonna win a championship the next couple years, but I think they can really become a perrenial playoff team in the next three years."

Sounds good, right? Not so fast. There are a lot of "ifs" according to Barkley. 

Most of those "ifs" ride on the health of center Joel Embiid. If the big man gets healthy, and the Sixers can resolve the "glutton of big guys," Barkley likes the Sixers chances.

"I think the most important thing they need to figure out is if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. ... I like (Jahlil) Okafor and I like (Nerlens) Noel, but they gotta figure out if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. 

"I like Ben Simmons, but that team's got a long way to go," Barkley said.

To hear more of Barkley's thoughts on the Sixers' future, watch the full video above.