Instant Replay: Sixers 115, Bucks 107

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Instant Replay: Sixers 115, Bucks 107

BOX SCORE

The Sixers’ losing streak had reached a season-high four games heading into Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Wells Fargo Center.

It took five extra minutes, but the Sixers made sure the skid wouldn’t reach a fifth game.

Spencer Hawes hit an off-balance three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and the Sixers seized control in overtime to claim a 115-107 win over the Bucks.

Caron Butler had hit a three-pointer with 8.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to put Milwaukee up, 101-97. Evan Turner then put in a layup before Hawes’ incredible shot to force overtime.

Thaddeus Young missed his second straight game for personal reasons. Daniel Orton made another start in Young’s absence.

Turning point
Luke Ridnour had shot just three free throws (and made only one) this season prior to stepping to the line with the Bucks up two points and 3.9 seconds remaining in the game. He split the pair, leaving the door open for the Sixers to force overtime.

Hawes caught the in-bounds pass in the corner in front of the Bucks’ bench, turned on one foot and found the bottom of the net.

Hawes made three three-pointers in the final 1:21 of regulation.

Follow the leader
Turner scored eight points in overtime and totaled a team-high 27 points in the game.

Hawes had 25 points and 12 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.

Michael Carter-Williams vowed to be more aggressive at the opening tip and he followed through. Carter-Williams scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds, handed out 11 assists, picked up five steals and blocked a shot.

He also had five turnovers in the game and fouled out with 3.9 seconds left in regulation.

The Bucks were led in scoring by Caron Butler, who scored 38 points in 36 minutes, while shooting 13 of 22 from the field.

Stat-egic
For a second game this week, the Sixers missed double-digit free throws. They were 18 of 29 from the charity stripe.

Take a bow
Hollis Thompson scored 10 points in in seven first-half minutes. He was 5 of 6 from the floor.

Thompson finished the game with a career-high 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting in 15 minutes. He also pulled down seven rebounds.

What’s next?
The Sixers will play the Pacers on Saturday night in Indianapolis. Both teams will be playing back-to-back games with the Pacers notching a 97-82 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday to improve their record to 11-1.

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."