NBA Wrap: Rose hurts right knee in Bulls' loss


NBA Wrap: Rose hurts right knee in Bulls' loss

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Derrick Rose injured his right knee Friday night and the Chicago Bulls star, who sat out last season following surgery on his other knee, did not return during a 98-95 loss to the streaking Portland Trail Blazers.

Wesley Matthews had a season-high 28 points and Damian Lillard added 20 to help the Trail Blazers run their winning streak to nine games.

Rose led the Bulls with 20 points, five rebounds and three assists but was assisted to the locker room with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter. The 2011 NBA MVP tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs and missed last season while recovering from surgery.

Carlos Boozer had 16 points and Luol Deng added 15 points and 14 rebounds for Chicago (see full recap).

Love, T-Wolves dominate Nets
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Garnett had stepped on the court against his former franchise seven times. He had walked away a winner each time after imposing his unyielding will on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

All the past success didn't matter one bit Friday night. Garnett and the star-studded Brooklyn Nets are finding out their reputations will get them nowhere this season.

Kevin Love had 17 points, 16 rebounds and four assists in just 28 minutes, and the Timberwolves beat Garnett for the first time since he left Minnesota in a 111-81 victory over the woeful Nets on Friday night.

Garnett finished with eight points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes and these aging, banged-up Nets were no match for the younger, faster Timberwolves. Mikhail Prokhorov's $190 million team has lost four in a row and seven of its last eight to fall to 3-9 (see full recap).

George scores 27, Pacers improve to 11-1
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics played a sloppy second half and the Indiana Pacers made them pay.

Down by eight points at halftime, the Pacers charged back for a 97-82 win Friday night behind 27 points from Paul George to improve the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Indiana (11-1) trailed at halftime in nine of its games. Its latest comeback was helped by Boston's 16 turnovers in the second half, leading to 23 points.

"Our starters, as a unit, have a gear defensively that they can reach that's pretty special," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "They hit that in the third and took control of the game."

The Pacers shut down Jordan Crawford after he made all eight of his field goal attempts and scored 19 points in the first half. He finished with a season-high 24 (see full recap).

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:

Sixers cut Brandon Paul, Dionte Christmas, 3 others to set 15-man roster

Sixers cut Brandon Paul, Dionte Christmas, 3 others to set 15-man roster

In a preseason full of unexpected turns, the Sixers' final cuts were as anticipated.

The Sixers on Monday waived guards Cat Barber, Dionte Christmas, Brandon Paul and forwards Shawn Long and James Webb III to trim their regular-season roster to 15. 

Long, Paul and Webb had been with the Sixers since summer league. Barber signed with the team for training camp. Philadelphia native Christmas was the newest addition. He joined the Sixers the day of the deadline (see story)

The Sixers own the D-League rights to Barber, Christmas, Long and Webb. They are expected to land with the affiliate Delaware 87ers. 

Paul’s D-League rights are owned by the Cavaliers. He has received interest from other NBA teams, according to a source, and has not discussed playing in the Development League. 

Long appeared in each of the Sixers' preseason games. He averaged 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds. Webb posted 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in six games. 

Paul averaged 7.3 points (36.4 percent from three) and 2.3 rebounds in four games. Barber was sidelined during the preseason by a right hand/wrist injury. He played two games, averaging 5.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. 

Christmas, 30, had planned to play this season in Greece and decided on Sunday to sign with the Sixers instead of returning overseas. 

The Sixers waived 17-year veteran Elton Brand last weekend after he announced his intention to retire. 

Here's the Sixers' complete roster:

2016-17 Sixers
Robert Covington, SF, 6-9/215
Joel Embiid, C, 7-2/250
Jerami Grant, F, 6-8/210
Gerald Henderson, G, 6-5/215
Richaun Holmes, F, 6-10/245
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, G/F, 6-6/205
T.J. McConnell, PG, 6-2/200
Jahlil Okafor, C, 6-11/275
Sergio Rodriguez, PG, 6-3/176
Dario Saric, F, 6-10/223
Nik Stauskas, G, 6-6/205
Hollis Thompson, G/F, 6-8/206

Inactive list
Jerryd Bayless, PG, 6-3/200
Nerlens Noel, PF/C, 6-11/228
Ben Simmons, F, 6-10/240