Instant Replay: Sixers 126, Magic 125 (2OT)


Instant Replay: Sixers 126, Magic 125 (2OT)


The Sixers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 126-125 win over the shorthanded Orlando Magic in double overtime on Tuesday.

With 9.8 seconds to go in the second OT, James Anderson had an opportunity to seal the game at the foul line with a pair of free throws. He missed both shots to keep the Sixers with a three-point advantage.

On the ensuing possession, the Magic got the ball to Arron Afflalo, who had already poured in 43 points. However, this time he drew iron on the shot while the Sixers secured the rebound and the win.

The Sixers improved to 7-12 with the victory. It was the second double overtime game they have won this season at the Wells Fargo Center.

Orlando was without starters Jameer Nelson and Nikola Vucevic in the game with both sidelined because of injuries (see story).

Turning point
With 1:01 to play in the second overtime, Thaddeus Young took a pass from Michael Carter-Williams and hit his patented left-hand floater. It stretched the Sixers’ lead to 125-120, gave Young 25 points on the night and MCW his first career triple-double.

Take a bow
On the day when Carter-Williams was named Eastern Conference Rookie Rookie of the Month for October/November (see story), the point guard put together another impressive performance.

Carter-Williams was 11 of 19 from the floor for 27 points. He added 12 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals.

Fellow rookie Victor Oladipo was equally impressive for the Magic, recording his first-ever triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Oladipo and Carter-Williams have separated themselves to date as the head of this season’s rookie class with everyone else a good distance behind.

Follow the leader
Young posted his third double-double this season with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Young was 3 of 6 from three-point range as he is shooting a career-best 39.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Evan Turner scored 24 points in the win. He made 7 of 16 shots from the floor but connected on 10 of 13 from the free throw line before picking up his sixth foul 30 seconds into the second OT.

Afflalo led all scorers with 43. He made 14 of 27 shots overall, including 5 of 13 from three.

Meanwhile, Glen Davis scored 33 on 15 of 24 shooting. Davis made his first three-pointer since the 2011-12 season with 18.4 seconds to go in regulation, knotting the game at 104.

The Sixers were dominant on the backboard. They outrebounded the Magic, 56-34.

Also, the Sixers made their free throws for a change. They shot 23 of 33 from the charity stripe.

What’s next?
The Sixers head to Charlotte to face the Bobcats on Friday night when they will be trying to snap a seven-game road losing streak.

The Bobcats average the least points in the NBA per game (89.2), but they allow the second-fewest (91.8).

Former Episcopal Academy standout Gerald Henderson, now in his fifth NBA season, is averaging 14.5 points per game.

Kevin Durant era begins as Warriors open vs. Tim Duncan-less Spurs

Kevin Durant era begins as Warriors open vs. Tim Duncan-less Spurs

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Kevin Durant era tips off for the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night against an opponent, the San Antonio Spurs, that both Durant and the Warriors would consider unfriendly.

After signing a two-year, $54.3 million deal to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason, Durant is expected to take his place alongside holdover Warriors standouts Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the nightcap of TNT's opening-night doubleheader (10:30 p.m. ET).

And he will do so against a Spurs team that also will sport a new look this season -- albeit one with a key piece missing.

In its quest to unseat Golden State as the two-time Western Conference champs, San Antonio will go forward without future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, who retired in July after his 19th season.

Before concluding the addition of Durant and the subtraction of Duncan tilts the balance significantly in the Warriors' favor, consider this: The last four times the Spurs played Golden State without their star big man, they won two of them.

The Spurs went after Durant in free agency, then settled for Pau Gasol, who is primed to join a star-studded collection of talent himself. San Antonio returns Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard from a team that won 67 games last season.

"I wouldn't think of ourselves as the guinea pig," Gasol said Monday when asked if the Spurs saw themselves as a test experiment for Golden State's new concoction. "We have an incredible team here with a lot of talent and a lot of experience. It's going to be an interesting, challenging first game."

The Warriors feel the same way, and with good reason.

Even after winning the season series 3-1 last season, Golden State has prevailed just six times in its past 30 regular-season meetings with the Spurs.

Meanwhile, halfway across the country, Durant was having similar struggles with his Southwest Division rival. His 25.8-point career scoring average against the Spurs is lower than his mark all teams except the Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trail Blazers.

The Warriors will take the court fully aware the NBA hasn't scheduled a coming-out party for Durant on opening night.

"It'll be a really good atmosphere, obviously, and I'm sure there will be a very high level of play on both ends," Curry said. "It'll take a lot to get a win."

The Warriors did more tinkering to their record-breaking, 73-win team than adding Durant. They even plucked one of the Spurs -- David West -- with a team-friendly, $1.6 million offer that was similar to the one ($1.5 million) that lured the veteran away from the Indiana Pacers for a shot at a title in San Antonio last season.

That didn't work out as planned, as West contributed only a career-worst average of 4.0 rebounds and his lowest scoring output in 10 years (7.1 points per game) to the Spurs' quest.

So now, instead of backing up Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge as he did a year ago, he will team with Zaza Pachulia in replacing Andrew Bogut in Golden State's bid for a second championship in three seasons.

Point guard Joel Embiid? Sixers' big man works on leading break

Point guard Joel Embiid? Sixers' big man works on leading break

CAMDEN, N.J. — Toward the end of Sixers practice Monday, Joel Embiid participated in a fast-break drill … by himself.

Embiid brought the ball up the floor in a one-on-none situation against members of the Sixers' coaching staff. 

He's already showed off his three-point shooting skills and now he’s running the break? 

“I’ve always thought I was a point guard,” Embiid joked. “So that’s something that I want to do.”

In all seriousness, Embiid worked on his ball-handling skills during his two-year rehab from foot injuries. It’s not that he wants to become an unconventional point guard, it’s that he is striving to be an all-around threat. Embiid focused on recording his first assist, as an example, during the preseason. 

“I think I’m a complete player,” he said. “I think I can do everything on the court. Doing that shows I think it can help my team, too, in other aspects.” 

With running the break comes attacking the basket in traffic. It could be an anxious moment for a coach to watch a player fresh off two years of foot injuries to drive in a crowd. Sixers head coach Brett Brown said he has to be past the feeling of holding his breath whenever he watches Embiid do so. 

“We are so responsible with how we use him and play him,” Brown said. “It’s like us with children. They go out for the night. You’re nervous, but they go out for the night. He plays basketball for a living, and so he plays. We’ve just got to keep putting him in responsible environments and monitoring his minutes.”

As a point guard, T.J. McConnell appreciates Embiid’s skills, especially given his size. 

“To the people that try to pick him up when he brings the ball up the floor, good luck,” McConnell said. “It’s pretty incredible to see.” 

Robert Covington watched Embiid practice his ball handling during his lengthy recovery. He has seen improvements and likes the dynamic it creates for the team on the break. 

“His handle is really tight and then he’s really strong with it as well,” Covington said. “We’re very comfortable with him pushing the ball.”

That being said, Brown isn’t about to anoint Embiid into a point-center role. He knows Embiid’s desire to be active all over the court, but just as he’s said he doesn’t intend for Embiid to become a go-to three-point shooter, he also wants Embiid to focus on his true position. 

“Joel likes to be a player,” Brown said. “He wants to be a guard. He wants to shoot a three. He wants to be a post player. He wants to play. And we all have seen enough to think he actually can. 

“There are times that he rebounds and leads a break, we want him being aware of get off it, get it to a point guard more than not. I don’t mind him coming down in trail if he’s got daylight, him shooting some. He’s got a wonderful touch and I’ve seen it for two years. 

“... All over the place, I want to grow him. I’m not just going to bucket him up. I still say, like I say to him, 'At the end of the day, you’re a seven-foot-two post player. Post player.'”

Watch Embiid running the floor here: