Instant Replay: Cavs 104, Sixers 93

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Instant Replay: Cavs 104, Sixers 93

BOX SCORE

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Sixers were the visitors on Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Schottenstein Center on Ohio State University’s campus, but it was a homecoming for Evan Turner, who played three seasons for the Buckeyes.

However, Turner’s return couldn’t put the Sixers over the top in a 103-94 loss to the Cavs. Turner scored 14 points and had six rebounds in the defeat, which dropped the Sixers to 2-4 in the preseason.

The Sixers did show some fight in this one. They trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half but were able to close the gap to two heading into the final frame and even took the lead in the fourth quarter.

Royce White fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter after 17 minutes of action. He argued with the officials heading to the Sixers’ bench, which drew him a technical foul and an early exit to the locker room.

Turning point
The Sixers were outscored, 11-3, in the first 5:21 of the fourth quarter. Sixers head coach Brett Brown put four of his five starters back in at that point, but the Cavs had already turned the momentum back in their favor.

The Sixers lost the final quarter, 33-24, overall.

Follow the leader
Spencer Hawes had a double-double with 17 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.

Kyrie Irving has already been selected to one All-Star game and there are certainly more in store for him. In a point guard’s league, Cleveland has slowly built its team up around the Duke product.

Irving played 28 minutes, scored 17 points and handed out 12 assists.

The No. 1 overall pick from last June’s draft, Anthony Bennett, came off the bench to score nine points and grab five rebounds.

Stat-egic
The Sixers shot just 35 percent from the floor and 22 percent from behind the arc. They did make 27 of 34 free throws.

Take a bow
It was a nice return to OSU for Turner. His mother lives in Columbus and made a meal for the entire Sixers family on Sunday night.

“It was great last night,” Brown said. “His mom cooked for everybody. Everybody showed up and it was a good team thing. It was great hospitality by the Turner family. His mom is a mom, a real warm lady and an excellent cook.”

What’s next?
The Sixers play their final preseason game at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Their roster still stands at 20, but needs to be shaved down to 15 by Oct. 27.

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."

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

NEW ORLEANS -- The weeks and months have quickly piled up. Nerlens Noel has not played an NBA regular-season game since last season ended for the Sixers on April 13. Nearly eight months later, Noel is nearing the return he has been eyeing for quite some time now. 

“It’s always an excitement to be able to play basketball after this amount of time, including the summer, not being able to play organized basketball at a competitive level,” Noel said Thursday. “I’ve been really looking forward to this. I think I’ve gained some momentum coming back from this minor surgery, and I think I’m in a really good place and I’m feeling good with my body. Everything is on point.”

Noel has been sidelined since undergoing elective left knee surgery in October to address an inflamed plica. He traveled to New Orleans on Wednesday to join the Sixers ahead of their 99-88 win over the Pelicans (see game recap). Noel continued his rehab Thursday while the team prepped for the game. 

“I’ve been able do five-on-five, full contact,” Noel said. “I’ve tried to maximize my opportunities of that with the team being gone on the road. I came down here and went through most of shootaround and it went well. Now these next couple of days, [I will be] going through practice, still working on my wind. I do like where I’m at now.”

The Sixers’ next game is Sunday against the Pistons in Detroit. Brett Brown had given Noel’s availability for that game a “maybe” (see story)

“I’m not sure,” Noel said of playing Sunday. “I’m ready to go with these next couple of days and see how my wind feels and how my body feels, which I have been feeling good. So it’s a possibility.”

When Noel does return, there is a scenario in which he could be paired with center Joel Embiid. Last year, the Sixers struggled finding the best way to utilize Noel and Jahlil Okafor, also a center, at the same time playing the four and five positions. As Okafor has said of playing with Embiid, Noel also believes his off-the-court friendship with the towering rookie would translate onto the court. 

“I think it would be something that’s experimented,” Noel said. “It’d definitely be interesting.”

Noel candidly expressed his opinion of the Sixers’ logjammed frontcourt at the start of the season. Since speaking to the media after his surgery, Noel has mentioned he is in a good mental place (see story). For him, that means being out on the court again. 

“I love myself and I love the game of basketball,” Noel said. “When I step out here to come and play, it just brings a lot of enjoyment and excitement to me. Regardless of what the details of it are, I just love the game and I’m happy to just be playing.”