Instant Replay: Sixers 114, Heat 110


Instant Replay: Sixers 114, Heat 110


That’s what you call a start.

The Sixers got off on a 19-0 run to start the game and executed in the fourth quarter to shock the defending champion Miami Heat, 114-110, in Wednesday’s season opener at the Wells Fargo Center.

The win gave Brett Brown his first victory as an NBA head coach.

Evan Turner led the Sixers in scoring with 26, points including two seal-the-deal free throws with 19.1 seconds to play.

However, rookie Michael Carter-Williams was the difference. The point guard scored 22 points, handed out 12 assists, grabbed seven rebounds and had nine steals.

Turning point
The Sixers took a one-point lead with two minutes to play in the game, when James Anderson made a steal and quickly got the ball up to Carter-Williams, who calmly handed it off to Spencer Hawes for a layup.

That basket gave the Sixers their first lead since the 8:33 mark of the third quarter.

Follow the leader
The Sixers were carried in scoring by their veteran leaders. Turner (26 points), Hawes (24) and Thaddeus Young (10) combined for 60 points.

Also, Brown’s young and inexperienced bench proved solid on this night. The Sixers got 24 points from their reserves, including 14 from Tony Wroten on 6-for-9 shooting.

LeBron James led the Heat with 25 points and 13 assists. Chris Bosh scored 22 points. Dwyane Wade did not play, sitting out for rest.

The Sixers made sure to take advantage of easy opportunities. They had 50 points in the paint and 26 off the fast break.

The Sixers shot 53.8 percent from the floor and 38.1 from three-point range.

Take a bow
Carter-Williams became the first player in his NBA debut to collect nine steals. He finished just shy of a triple-double, which has never been done in a player’s first career game.

What’s next?
The Sixers play their first road game of the season on Friday against the Wizards.

John Wall is healthy and the Wizards’ front office made a number of offseason moves that has bolstered the team around the point guard, who signed an $80 million contract extension this past summer.

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

CAMDEN, N.J. — Jahlil Okafor has been patient with his right knee. He was disciplined with restrictions and recovery during the preseason, recognizing the goal of being ready for opening night. 

At the same time, once he got back on the court he wanted more. Okafor played eight minutes Friday against the Heat, his first game since Feb. 28 before undergoing surgery to repair a right meniscus tear. 

“I don’t think I’m going to do eight again,” Okafor said Sunday. “They kind of heard me complain about that a lot. I think it’ll definitely be more than eight, but it won’t be much more.” 

Okafor has been limited since reaggravating his knee during the final day of training camp. He practiced “to tolerance” on Sunday, according to the Sixers. Okafor did not participate in the team scrimmage and worked out individually with assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning Todd Wright. 

The second-year big man did not feel soreness on Saturday following the game. On Sunday, he felt “kind of stiff” during practice. Brett Brown has been watching Okafor’s movement closely. While Okafor considered it to be “good,” Brown was a tougher critic. 

“I think he looked OK,” Brown said. “He didn’t look great to me today. I’ll give him a B-minus … It’s always how do you move? East, west, north, south, how do you move?” 

Okafor scored four points, one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover in Miami. He focused on his defense during the game. When he subbed out, he checked in with Elton Brand on the bench to receive feedback from the now-retired veteran. Okafor plans to continue to tap into him for advice throughout the season. 

With opening night three days away, Okafor still plans to be on the floor for it.

“I am optimistic about it,” he said. “I should be ready to go.” 

Robert Covington sprained his right ankle in Friday’s game and did not practice Sunday. Brown anticipates Covington, who has been starting at small forward, also will be ready to go Wednesday. 

“I do (expect him to play),” Brown said. “But we won’t know that for sure yet.” 

Sixers waive retired Elton Brand
The Sixers waived Brand on Sunday, making his retirement official. Brand announced his intentions to walk away from the game Thursday. The Sixers' request of waivers was a procedural step. The roster currently stands at 19. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said last week (see story). “But it’s definitely time now.” 

Brand celebrated his career with his teammates at Komodo in Miami on Thursday night ahead of their preseason finale against the Heat. 

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.