Instant Replay: Sixers 106, Nets 97

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Instant Replay: Sixers 106, Nets 97

BOX SCORE

The Sixers knocked off the Nets, 106-97, to snap their five-game losing streak on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The victory was the Sixers’ first in three tries against the Nets this season.

The Sixers improved to 24-39 on the night, while the Nets fell to 37-27.

Turning point
Damien Wilkins’ defense on Joe Johnson with under a minute to play in regulation forced the Brooklyn guard into a tough shot that would have cut the Sixers’ lead to four.

Evan Turner grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made one of his two free throws to give the Sixers a 102-95 lead with 48.3 seconds remaining.

Follow the leader
Spencer Hawes scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out seven assists. His seven assists were a season high and just two shy of his career mark.

The production also marked Hawes’ 11th double-double of the season

Thaddeus Young scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his 17th double-double of the season. He had just one all of last season. Meanwhile, Jrue Holiday scored 15 points and handed out 11 assists for his 17th double-double this season.

Deron Williams had five points and nine assists at halftime. At the end of the third quarter, he had 19 points and 10 assists. Williams finished with 27 points and 11 assists.

Johnson scored 20 points for the Nets. Brook Lopez added 19 points overall but just three in the second half.

Stat-egic
The Sixers hit their magical number of 40 points combined at the “lines.” They were 8 of 15 from behind the three-point line and were 18 for 27 from the foul line for a combined 42 points.

Take a bow
Dorell Wright has found a nice niche with the Sixers since All-Star Game.

He has scored in double figures in nine of the 13 games following the break, including a 15-point effort on Monday. In that stretch, Wright is 27 for 70 from three-point range (38.5 percent).

What’s next
The Sixers will host the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. The Sixers have lost 13 consecutive regular-season games to the Heat.

The Heat have the longest winning streak in the NBA at 18 games and will put that mark on the line Tuesday when they host Atlanta. The Heat have beaten the Hawks three times already this season.

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."