NBA Wrap: Knicks overcome Curry's 54 points


NBA Wrap: Knicks overcome Curry's 54 points

The Sixers were off on Wednesday after Doug Collins' postgame rant created more questions for the slumping team (see story).

Collins' criticism may not even be enough to spark the flawed Sixers at this point in the season (see story).

Knicks' overcome Curry's 54 points
NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points, J.R. Smith hit the tiebreaking shot with 1:10 left, and the New York Knicks overcame Stephen Curry's NBA season-high 54 points to beat the Golden State Warriors 109-105 on Wednesday night.

Curry was 18 of 28 from the field, finishing one shy of the NBA record with 11 3-pointers, in a performance that had the crowd hanging on his every shot. But the Knicks finally stopped him with 1:28 to play when Raymond Felton blocked his shot with the score tied at 105.

That led to a jumper by Smith, who finished with 26 points. Anthony followed with another basket and the Knicks hung on to spoil former Knicks star and Warriors coach Mark Jackson's homecoming (see story).

-The Associated Press

Ellis gives Bucks win at buzzer
HOUSTON -- Monta Ellis sank an off-balance 3-pointer just before the final buzzer to give the Milwaukee Bucks a 110-107 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

Ellis scored 27 points and handed out 13 assists, Eryan Ilyasova added 20 points and the Bucks won in Houston for the second straight season.

The Bucks went down to the wire again after beating Dallas 95-90 on Tuesday and losing their previous three games by no more than three points. Ellis took a pass from Brandon Jennings and heaved a shot off one foot as time was winding down. The referees watched a replay and ruled that Ellis shot it in time.

James Harden scored 25 and Omer Asik grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds for Houston (see story).

-The Associated Press

Suns end Spurs' home streak
SAN ANTONIO -- Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points and 13 rebounds and the Phoenix Suns beat San Antonio 105-101 in overtime Wednesday night to snap the Spurs' 18-game home winning streak.

Luis Scola added 15 points and Goran Dragic had 13 points and 13 assists for Phoenix, which snapped a six-game losing streak against San Antonio.

Tony Parker had 22 points to lead the Spurs, who had not lost at home since Dec. 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tim Duncan had 19 points and 11 rebounds and DeJuan Blair and Kawhi Leonard added 15 points apiece.

San Antonio went 0 for 10 in overtime, its only points in the extra period coming when Parker made 1 of 2 free throws (see story).

-The Associated Press

Thunder crush Hornets
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant recorded his third career triple-double and the Oklahoma City Thunder finished a perfect three-game homestand by routing the short-handed New Orleans Hornets 119-74 on Wednesday night.

Durant had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as Oklahoma City finished a dominant four-game sweep of the season series against New Orleans, which was without starters Anthony Davis (shoulder) and Eric Gordon (knee). The Thunder led by at least 29 in three of the four meetings this season,

With the Thunder firmly in control, Durant made a clear bid for the triple-double. He got the assist on five straight Thunder baskets in the third quarter, grinning widely at the bench after his ninth assist. He and the rest of the starters exited soon after.

Ryan Anderson started in place of Davis and led New Orleans with 14 points (see story).

- The Associated Press

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Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

CAMDEN, N.J. — If all goes as planned, a time will come when the Sixers can roll out a dominating frontcourt duo with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor sharing the court in lengthy stretches.

That moment has to wait, though, as both Embiid and Okafor are on minute restrictions. As he returns from a knee injury, Okafor currently is coming off the bench and backing up Embiid.

“This conversation with Jahlil and Joel is more intelligent and applicable at a later date,” Brett Brown said at practice Friday. “When Jahlil’s minutes start going up and Joel can, then it’s a real conversation. I do think you may see them sooner than even I thought together. But as far as making it a real constant part of a strategy or rotation, it’s beyond too early days.”

In an ideal world, Brown could pair the two bigs now and use all of their allotted minutes (Embiid 20, Okafor 14) at once. That would leave an extensive workload on second-year bench player Richaun Holmes.

“This is a hot topic,” Brown said. “I will say it one more time: If I play Jahlil and Jo together, I hope Richaun can play 35 minutes.”

It’s an unrealistic expectation for Holmes, who averaged 13.8 minutes in 51 games last season. Brown caps the majority of the Sixers at six-minute segments to keep them competing at a high energy level.

“Right now, he’s a backup,” Brown said of Holmes. “I think he’s going to be an NBA player for a very long time. I just feel like in the role, he’s a second-year player that didn’t really have much of a role last year. He’s shown everybody that he’s for real. He really can play a role. At this early stage, that is the key word.”

Embiid and Okafor have been envisioning competing together since Okafor was drafted two years ago. They became friends long before they were NBA players and have an easy chemistry on the court as a result.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Embiid said. “We played a little bit together today in practice. We’re figuring out how to play with each other. It’s a process and we’ve got trust it.”

Yes, the players know they have to wait, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to resist an opportunity to play with one another.  

“I think once we figure it out, we can really dominate together,” Okafor said. “We were able to flirt with it again today. We accidentally keep ending up on the same team even though Coach keeps telling us to make sure we alternate. But we’re having fun. We’re trying to put some pressure on it because we want to play together.”

Is that accidentally with air quotes?

“Yeah, exactly,” Okafor said with a laugh.

'Trust the process' has a different, more personal meaning to Joel Embiid

'Trust the process' has a different, more personal meaning to Joel Embiid

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid is all about trusting the process.

He manages to insert the well-known phrase into just about every interview, hashtags it on social media and soaks in the chants during games. 

While “trust the process” is commonly associated with former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie’s patience-required approach to building the team — which resulted in three years of dismal losing and suffering setback after setback — Embiid has his personal take on the mantra.

“I think I have my own process,” Embiid said Friday at practice.

Embiid is playing for the first time this season after waiting two years to recover from foot injuries. His long-anticipated debut was a focal point of “the process,” and his return to the court marked a new chapter in the organization.

“I went through two surgeries, lost my brother, thought about some stuff I shouldn’t have thought about, so that’s my own process,” he said. “And then the process of going through the rehab and finally getting back on the court and getting the chance to finally play in the league, that’s my process.”

Embiid is now synonymous with the word. He credits Sixers fans for the moniker, which he added to his Instagram profile. 

“I don’t think it came from me,” he said. “Fans just started and then I just went along with it.”

Wednesday marked the next step in the process, both for the Sixers and Embiid. His regular-season debut (20 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) was a long time coming and garnered buzz all over the NBA world.

“I was the third pick and then I missed two years,” Embiid said. “The excitement in the city, everybody’s happy to finally see me play. Even though it was weird because a lot of people kind of wrote me off a long time ago saying that I’d never play as a Sixer, I’d never play in the league. So it’s all fun. Everybody’s going to have an opinion.”

He’s just got to trust in his own.