Instant Replay: Sixers 101, Hawks 90

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Instant Replay: Sixers 101, Hawks 90

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA -- The Sixers entered Friday’s game against the Hawks intent on redeeming themselves for Wednesday night’s loss to the league-worst Bobcats.

The Sixers did just that by rolling to a 101-90 victory over the Hawks. The Sixers’ record stands at 31-44 with seven games remaining in the regular season.

Turning point
The Sixers came out of the locker room strong in the third quarter. They quickly grew their 13-point halftime lead to 19 with 7:38 to go in the quarter.

Through three quarters, the Sixers led the playoff-bound Hawks by 18 points.

Follow the leader
Evan Turner led the Sixers with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Spencer Hawes had 19 points and 12 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 19 points, while Al Horford scored 18.

Stat-egic
The Sixers scored 40 points in the first quarter on 16-of-22 shooting. The 40 points were their highest total of any quarter this season and their 73 percent shooting was also a season high.

They also had 10 assists in the quarter after having 16 for the entire game on Wednesday.

Take a bow
Thaddeus Young made his first six shots and finished with his 20th double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Young finished the game 6 of 9 from the field.

Health check
Dorell Wright did not play because of a right elbow contusion that he suffered in the Sixers’ game last Saturday against the Bobcats. He has fluid in the elbow that is causing him pain.

Wright did play in Wednesday’s loss and was 5 of 9 from the floor for 14 points. He is a game-time decision for Saturday’s matchup in Miami.

What’s next?
The Sixers will face the Heat on Saturday night.

This game was circled on plenty of calendars a short while ago when the Heat were on their lengthy win streak and it appeared that the record-tying number of 33 straight could come against the Sixers.

Now, there is a good chance that the Sixers could face an entirely different version of the Heat as Miami continues to rest players for the postseason. LeBron James (strained right hamstring) and Dwyane Wade (sprained right ankle) have not played since March 29.

The Heat still have a 10-game lead on the Knicks for first place in the Eastern Conference. They also have four fewer losses than the Spurs and are in good position to have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

WAYNE, Pa. — Three steps. 

That’s all it takes before Ben Simmons is recognized walking through the streets of Philadelphia. 

This year’s No. 1 pick has been in the spotlight long before the Sixers drafted him in June, and now he's experiencing what it's like to be known as an NBA player in his new city. 

“I’ve been enjoying walking around South Street, getting some Ishkabibble's,” Simmons said Tuesday after a special appearance at the Sixers' Camp at Valley Forge Military Academy. 

At 6-foot-10, Simmons towers above most on the court, let alone on the sidewalk. Fans have been eager to welcome him to Philadelphia for a new chapter of the organization after three years of struggle. 

“Positive things,” Simmons said of the comments he receives. “I think a lot of people are excited, so I’ve been looking forward to it.”

Simmons understands the impact a professional athlete can have on young fans, and was excited to be at camp Tuesday.

Growing up in Australia, he never had the opportunity to hear from NBA players when he attended basketball camps. Now that he's in that position, the 20-year-old was glad to provide that memory to the 240 campers. 

“That would mean a lot if I was able to experience that,” Simmons said. 

Simmons demonstrated skill drills, such as passing fundamentals, interacted in a Q&A session and signed autographs for each camper. He also took individual photos for those who traveled internationally, including from Nigeria, Italy and Greece. 

“I’m just like them, but older,” Simmons said. “I’m just trying to be a good role model to them.”

Simmons plans to spend most of the offseason in Philadelphia as he gets settled into the city. He still has to move into his new home, but at least he knows where to get a cheesesteak in the meantime. 

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.