Instant Replay: Clippers 107, Sixers 90

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Instant Replay: Clippers 107, Sixers 90

BOX SCORE

The Los Angeles Clippers lead the Pacific Division and two All-Stars in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. They also have proved that they are a complete team by winning 18 consecutive games earlier this season.

The Sixers may have an All-Star of their own, but they are far from being a well-rounded team. They were dominated from start to finish in a 107-90 loss to the Clippers on Monday to close out their eight-game homestand.

The Sixers allowed the Clippers to shoot 59 percent from the floor, including 8 of 19 from three-point range as their record dropped to 22-28.

Turning point
The Clippers were been dubbed “Lob City” Clippers with high-fliers Griffin and DeAndre Jordon on the roster. The highlight dunks from those two may get all the attention, but the Clippers actually do get after opponents defensively as they hold teams to the fourth-fewest points per game (93.6).

Los Angeles led 30-22 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Clippers limited the Sixers to 11 points on 5-for-22 shooing. The Clippers took a comfortable 23-point lead into the locker room at the half and never looked back.

Follow the leader
Griffin and Paul put on a show Monday night. Paul scored 21 points and handed out 11 assists in 25 minutes. Griffin totaled 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out five assists. Jordan pulled down 10 boards and scored eight points.

Nick Young snapped out of his shooting slump to lead the Sixers with 29 points. Evan Turner, Jeremy Pargo and Jrue Holiday were the only other Sixers in double figures with 10 points each.

Stat-egic
Lavoy Allen grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds on Saturday against Charlotte. Against the Clippers, Allen played 29 minutes and did not have a rebound until there was 2:30 left to play in the third quarter.

Allen pulled down just one more board before his night ended.

Take a bow
Jamal Crawford is a good bet to win Sixth Man of the Year. He came off the Clippers’ bench to score 20 points on an efficient 8-for-10 shooting.

What’s next?
The Sixers play their final game before the All-Star break in Milwaukee Wednesday night.

The Bucks beat the Sixers for a second time this season on Jan. 22 at the Bradley Center, 110-102. Milwaukee has since slipped to eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

In that meeting the Bucks’ guards dominated the Sixers’ backcourt. Brandon Jennings scored 25 points, while Monta Ellis dropped in 18. The duo combined to shoot 15 for 27 from the floor.

Meanwhile, Holiday and Royal Ivey were 6 of 15 together for 17 points.

Ersan Ilyasova led all scorers with 27 points and was high man in rebounding with 16.

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Brett Brown left training camp last September with an unsettling feeling. He had just completed long days of scrimmages, drills and planning, and yet he sensed the Sixers were not ready to tackle the 82 games that lied ahead. 

“I remember driving back to Philadelphia last year knowing in my heart of heart that this group was going to be challenged,” Brown said Thursday following the morning practice session at Stockton University. “That was a frightening drive home. That drive home scared me because I felt like, I know what we have and how are we going to be able to maneuver through this?”

Brown was right. The Sixers lost their first 18 games and began the season 1-30. They stumbled the rest of the way, finishing the 2016-17 campaign with a dismal 10-72 record. 

“We really didn’t know who the point guard was,” Brown said. “We came in extremely injured, we were trying to make the Nerlens [Noel]-Jahlil [Okafor] thing work, there really weren’t a lot of veterans to look around [and see], and you knew it.”

Now in his fourth training camp as head coach, with 47 wins and 199 losses with the Sixers behind him, Brown has different emotions as the team nears the end of training camp on Friday. 

Instead of a constantly-changing lineup of players, the Sixers are building a roster that can serve as the foundation for the future. There are nine new players on the team, including first overall pick Ben Simmons and rookie Dario Saric. Joel Embiid will make his NBA debut after two years of injuries, and the Sixers added veteran leaders in free agency.

Brown has a clearer picture of what the team could look like this season and beyond. He is coaching training camp to enter a new chapter, not to simply make it through the upcoming months. 

“You can leave and you can sniff reality,” Brown said. “Now what I see is there’s depth. There are challenges positionally as we’ve talked about. But there’s talent. There’s point guards. They’re sprinkled in with some veterans. How we grow it and play it is still on the table. To me, it’s a completely different feeling that I have now that I did not have last year.”

The additions of Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez at the one spot lessen the coaching load for Brown. He also can turn to T.J. McConnell from last season. The depth is a far cry from when the Sixers were quickly changing at that position and didn’t find a consistent starter until they traded for Ish Smith in late December.

“That position, I think, is vital when you start putting a bunch of 20-year-olds around it and trying to find some type of organization,” Brown said. “You just can’t replace a point guard’s intellect. You can’t replace, I think, somebody that has great command from that position. It certainly helps me.”

Brown expects to feel “proud” when the Sixers wrap training camp on Friday. He is looking forward to getting the season underway, beginning with two practices at the new training complex in Camden before their first preseason game Oct. 4 against the Celtics. 

Brown anticipates his drive home this time will be a much different trip. 

“I feel comfortable that we’re ticking boxes and we’re achieving the goals that we set out from the start of what we wanted to get done in Stockton,” he said.

The Sixers continued to monitor load management on Thursday, as Okafor, Embiid and Gerald Henderson did not participate in the morning scrimmage. Bayless also did not go through the scrimmage because of a sore left wrist. 

Nerlens Noel thinks he and Ben Simmons can be a lockdown defensive duo

Nerlens Noel thinks he and Ben Simmons can be a lockdown defensive duo

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers' abundance of big men lends itself to numerous combinations in the frontcourt.

On Thursday, Nerlens Noel had his first experience playing with Ben Simmons. The center gelled with the rookie forward.

"It's a great duo, I think," Noel said following the morning practice session of training camp at Stockton University.

Noel has been paired with many big men during his career with the Sixers. Last season, he faced the challenge of playing out of position at times with Jahlil Okafor. The logjam prompted him to speak out about the current makeup of the roster (see story).

After playing with Simmons, Noel saw how the two can share the court.

"I think we complement each other very well, especially on the defensive end," Noel said. "He's definitely a lockdown type defender that digs in."

Even though Simmons has yet to play an NBA game, Noel already envisions how he can help the Sixers.

"He just plays basketball the right way," Noel said. "When your big man does that, it makes it a lot easier because he is very versatile being a point-forward type. That opens up a lot of things for him to be able to open up for his teammates."