Instant Replay: Sixers 105, Pacers 95

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Instant Replay: Sixers 105, Pacers 95

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Sixers finished off their disappointing regular season with a 105-95 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. The Sixers finished the season with a 34-48 record.

The Pacers rested a number of key players in the game as the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed gets ready for the playoffs.

Turning point
Jrue Holiday, as much as he is coveting some offseason rest, said prior to tipoff that the Sixers really wanted to come out strong and finish the season on the right note.

The Sixers backed up that talk early, grabbing a nine-point lead in the first quarter. They increased that advantage to 22 points at halftime.

Follow the leader
The Sixers were led by Dorell Wright, who had 23 points and five assists. Evan Turner added 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Lavoy Allen added 11 points and 11 rebounds for his third career double-double.

Indiana’s Gerald Green led all scorers with 34 points. He shot 14 of 23, including 6 for 11 from behind the arc.

Stat-egic
Since losing 99-91 to the Orlando Magic on March 10, the Sixers won 11 of their final 20 games. That was their best stretch of winning basketball since they started the season 11-9.

Take a bow
Arnett Moultrie had 14 points to go along with a career-high 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.

Moultrie, who appeared in 47 games this season, shot 58 percent from the floor for the year.

Moultrie’s summer regiment will go a long way in him having a more prominent role with the team next year.

What’s next?
Sixers players will convene for one final time this season on Thursday morning at their practice facility to conduct individual exit interviews with Sixers owner Josh Harris, head coach Doug Collins and team president Rod Thorn.

It would appear Thursday will also be Collins’ final day conducting head coaching duties for the organization.

The next steps for the Sixers to decide will be who is Collins’ successor, if they want to give general manager Tony DiLeo a new contract and what is the best way to move forward on the heels of the Andrew Bynum debacle.

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

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Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”

Best of NBA: Cavs snap skid; another triple-double for Westbrook

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Best of NBA: Cavs snap skid; another triple-double for Westbrook

TORONTO -- LeBron James scored 34 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame an injury to J.R. Smith to snap their three-game losing streak with a 116-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.

Smith injured his left knee in the first quarter after landing on a jump shot and hobbled to the dressing room in considerable pain. He did not return, and the Cavaliers said X-rays taken at the arena were negative and that the guard would return to Cleveland on Tuesday for further examination.

DeMar DeRozan had 31 points and Kyle Lowry added 24 for Toronto, which had its six-game winning streak snapped.

The win was the Cavaliers' third straight this season against the Raptors, the team they beat in last season's Eastern Conference finals. It also prevented Toronto from leapfrogging Cleveland into first place in the conference (see full recap).

Another triple-double for Westbrook in OKC win
ATLANTA -- Russell Westbrook extended his streak of triple-doubles to six games, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 102-99 victory over the skidding Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

Westbrook scored 32 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and doled out 12 assists, carrying on the NBA's longest run of triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven in a row in 1989.

Westbrook has sparked a six-game winning streak by the Thunder. He's now reached double figures in all three categories in half of the Thunder's 22 games.

By contrast, Jordan had 15 triple-doubles for the entire 1988-89 season.

Despite benching Kyle Korver and benefiting from return of Paul Millsap, the Hawks lost their seventh straight game.

They've dropped 10 of 11 overall (see full recap).

Harden, Rockets hang on to beat Celtics
HOUSTON -- James Harden scored 37 points and Al Horford missed a shot just before the buzzer to allow the Houston Rockets to hold on for a 107-106 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

The game was tied before Harden scored five straight points to make it 107-102 with less than a minute remaining. Avery Bradley made a jump shot and Harden received a flagrant 1 foul for elbowing Marcus Smart in the face. Smart made both free throws before Isaiah Thomas missed a layup.

But Houston knocked the ball out of bounds with 5.2 seconds left, giving Boston one last chance. Horford drove into the lane, but his shot rolled off the rim and Harden grabbed it to secure the victory.

Horford had 21 points and Thomas added 20 for the Celtics, who had won two straight (see full recap).