Reports: Sixers to speak with several candidates

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Reports: Sixers to speak with several candidates

The Sixers' coaching search appears to be heating up.

According to ESPN.com's Chris Broussard, the Sixers have been granted permission to interview Chicago Bulls assistants Ed Pinckney and Adrian Griffin to fill their head coaching vacancy.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears reports that the Sixers have also received permission to interview Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale. Spears adds that the Sixers contacted the Denver Nuggets about interviewing assistant Melvin Hunt.

Last week, sources told CSNPhilly.com's Dei Lynam that the Sixers also intend to interview Boston Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga for the job.

Pinckney joined the Bulls' staff in 2010 after spending the 2009-10 season as the Sixers' color analyst. Following 13 seasons in the NBA, the Villanova product began his coaching career by serving as an assistant for the Wildcats from 2003 to 2007. Pinckney also spent time as an assistant with the Minnesota Timberwolves and as the Miami Heat's director of mentoring programs.

Griffin also became a member of Tom Thibodeau's Chicago staff in 2010. He had previously served as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks for two seasons after ending his 10-year NBA career.

Fizdale began coaching as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of San Diego, in 1998. Fizdale spent time at Fresno State before making the jump to the NBA in 2003 with Golden State. He moved on to the Atlanta Hawks' coaching staff from 2004 to 2008 before spending the last five seasons with the reigning champion Heat.

Hunt has spent the past two seasons on the bench for the Nuggets. Prior to that, he served as an assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers. Hunt also had a five-year stint with the Houston Rockets, serving in numerous roles that included assistant coach, college/international scout and video coordinator.

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

NEW ORLEANS -- Of all the players Joel Embiid could be compared to, a similarity between a 7-foot-2, 270-something-pound center and a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard wouldn’t seem like a match.

That’s exactly what Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry sees, however, when looking at Embiid and reigning MVP Steph Curry.

“He’s different than anybody that’s been in this league in a long, long time,” Gentry said Thursday before the Sixers win over the Pelicans. “He’s a tremendous talent, he really is. I’ve never seen a guy that size, and with that kind of strength, that’s got such a soft touch. He shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry. It’s so soft when it leaves his hand.”

Curry is shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three. Embiid is 45.8 percent from the floor is 44.2 percent from long range.

Embiid flashed a big smile and paused to react when hearing of Gentry’s praise. He had been feeling hard on himself after going 0 for 5 beyond the arc against the Pelicans (see story).

“Steph is probably one of the best shooters in the league right now," Embiid said. "So that compliment means a lot."