Instant Replay: Nuggets 101, Sixers 100

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Instant Replay: Nuggets 101, Sixers 100

BOX SCORE

DENVER -- The Sixers came into Denver prepared to face a Nuggets team riding a 13-game winning streak and boasting a 30-3 record at home inside the Pepsi Center.

The game had all the making of a lopsided loss, but the Sixers instead turned it into a gut-wrenching 101-100 defeat.

With 7.1 seconds remaining on the clock, Evan Turner stepped to the free throw line to ice the game but missed both shots.

On the ensuing Denver possession, Corey Brewer was fouled by Damien Wilkins on a three-point attempt. Brewer converted all three free throws to give the Nuggets a 101-100 lead with 2.1 seconds left in the game.

The Sixers’ final shot at the buzzer was blocked to give them their 15 straight loss on the road.

"We weren't supposed to win that game," former Sixer Andre Iguodala told CSN's Molly Sullivan afterward. "We weren't supposed to win tonight."

Turning point
Damien Wilkins shook off a foul from Andre Miller to score on the low block with 2:07 left in the game. His bucket gave the Sixers an eight-point lead, but he was unable to convert the ensuing free throw.

Still, that should have been enough for the Sixers to close out the game. Instead, they scored just two more points the rest of the way, while turnovers and poor execution sealed their fate.

Follow the leader
Spencer Hawes had 17 points and 12 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. He also blocked four shots.

Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 15 assists for his 19th double-double. Holiday’s 15 assists tied his season high.

Wilkins scored 24 points, while Thaddeus Young added 18.

Brewer scored a game-high 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting. He also made 5 of 6 shots from beyond the arc.

Andre Miller started for the injured Ty Lawson and scored 21 points. Iguodala added 13 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Stat-egic
Since the Nuggets play at a frenetic pace, they tend to turn the ball over more than most teams. Denver averages 15.2 turnovers per game, tied for 25th-worst in the NBA.

The Sixers are second in the league in giveaways at just 13.1 per game.

Both teams were sloppy with the ball on Thursday. The Sixers turned it over 22 times, while the Nuggets had 19 turnovers for the night.

Take a bow
Wilkins has been a real bright spot for the Sixers during the back half of this disappointing season.

Wilkins made his seventh straight start Thursday night and scored in double figures for a seventh time in his last nine games. He finished with a team-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

What’s next?
The Sixers continue their four-game road swing with a game at Sacramento on Sunday.

The Kings average 99.7 points per game, but they give up a league-worst 104.8 points a night.

Sacramento is led in scoring and rebounding by DeMarcus Cousins, who averages 17.0 and 10.0 respectively. Chester product Tyreke Evans is second on the team in scoring with 15.6 points a game.

Source: Sixers to hire former head coach Jim O'Brien as assistant

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AP

Source: Sixers to hire former head coach Jim O'Brien as assistant

The Sixers are going to hire former head coach Jim O'Brien as an assistant coach on Brett Brown's staff, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com's Jessica Camerato. 

FOX29's Howard Eskin was the first to report the hire. 

O'Brien, 64, was the Sixers' head coach back in 2004-05, when he led the team to a 43-39 record. He was the Celtics' head coach from 2000-2004 and the Pacers' head coach from 2007-2011. In his nine years as an NBA head coach, he has a 303-327 record. 

O'Brien, who is from Philadelphia and went to Roman Catholic, last coached in the NBA as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks in 2012-13. 

Report: Point guard Ish Smith agrees to 3-year deal with Pistons

Report: Point guard Ish Smith agrees to 3-year deal with Pistons

It seemed like Ish Smith had more value to the Sixers than to another team, but the Detroit Pistons thought otherwise, reaching a three-year deal with the free-agent point guard early Friday morning, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Smith, 28, will be Reggie Jackson's backup with the Pistons.

Smith averaged 14.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 50 games for the Sixers last season. He shot 41 percent from the field, 34 percent from three and 67 percent from the line.

The Pistons will be the 10th NBA team in seven seasons for the well-traveled Smith.

The Sixers have an obvious need for guards. They exercised their option to keep shooting guard Hollis Thompson, but lost Smith and chose not to extend an offer to Isaiah Cannan, who became an unrestricted free agent.

Sixers lose several guard options during first wave of NBA free agency

Sixers lose several guard options during first wave of NBA free agency

It didn’t take long for talks of big money to swirl around the start of NBA free agency, which began at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning. Within the first hour, multi-year deals — some max — were being reported.

Several of them affected the Sixers.

• Linsanity isn't coming to Philly. Point guard Jeremy Lin tweeted that he's joining the Nets on what the Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reports is a three-year, $36 million deal. 

• Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson agreed to return on a four-year, $50 million contract, Wojnarowski reports. Clarkson was a restricted free agent who would have made sense for the Sixers to pursue.

DeMar DeRozan will remain with the Raptors on a five-year, $139 million deal, the Vertical reports. DeRozan was viewed as the top free-agent guard.

Elsewhere, the high salaries were not a surprise. The jump was going to happen with the increase in the salary cap. The recipients in some cases, however, were less expected. Here is a look at three other situations that emerged early in free agency. Deals cannot be finalized until the moratorium period ends July 7.

Bradley Beal nearing max to remain with Wizards (according to Woj)

Terms: 5 years, $128 million, no options

Beal is one of the best shooting guards available in free agency (restricted). He is a player who could have made a major impact on a new team (think, in the Sixers’ backcourt), but it looks like he will remain in Washington to give the Wizards a one-two punch with John Wall. Beal averaged 17.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists last season. He shot 44.9 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from three. Beal turned just 23 years old on June 28.

How this impacts the Sixers next season: Even though the Sixers need help at the two-spot, they are rebuilding and not necessarily in the max deal game this summer. Beal's return should help get the Wizards back on track to the playoffs as they can build around their young guards.

Like the Noah move with the Knicks, this doesn't have a major effect on the Sixers next season, but could in the standings for future years as the Sixers work to become a playoff team.

Timofey Mozgov agrees with Lakers (per Woj)

Terms: 4 years, $64 million

This was the biggest “say what?” news of the night. Mozgov appeared in only 13 games and totaled 76 minutes in the Cavaliers’ entire championship run. He averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 5.8 minutes during the playoffs. So let’s go back a season, when his value seemed to be more aligned with what he will be earning. During the 2015-16 postseason, Mozgov posted 10.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 26.5 minutes over 20 games, all as a starter, for the Cavs.

The Lakers need a big man (Roy Hibbert and Robert Sacre are unrestricted free agents), and at 7-foot-1, 275 pounds, Mozgov fits the bill — one that will cost them a hefty sum each season.

How this impacts the Sixers next season: The Sixers still are waiting on that draft pick from the Lakers, which is top-three protected again in 2017. Each roster move for the Lakers could play a role in where they stand in the lottery next season.

Joakim Noah to leave Bulls for Knicks (according to Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post)

Terms: 4 years, $72 million

Noah has played his entire nine-year career on the Bulls. That chapter will be closing, but this new one will bring familiarity. Noah will be playing in the city where he was born and with former teammate Derrick Rose, who the Knicks traded for recently. The length of this deal raised some eyebrows because Noah is 31 years old and has battled injuries throughout his career. Last season, he appeared in just 29 games (two starts) and underwent shoulder surgery in January. Noah averaged 4.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 21.9 minutes before the season-ending operation. 

How this impacts the Sixers next season: The Knicks have fallen out of playoff contention. They will look to improve in the East with a tandem of Noah, Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. This signing doesn’t have an immediate impact on the Sixers until they begin fighting for postseason seedings.

Other moves to trickle out early Friday morning:

Hassan Whiteside will return to the Heat, he announced via The Players' Tribune

• The Pistons and Andre Drummond are nearing a five-year, $130 million max contract, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

• The Hornets are poised to keep forward Nicolas Batum on a five-year, $120 million deal, according to Woj

• Guard D.J. Augustin agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with the Magic, per ESPN's Chris Broussard.