Sixers-Bobcats: 5 things you need to know

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Sixers-Bobcats: 5 things you need to know

The Sixers (12-25) get back at it for the first time since losing to the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center last Saturday.

In that one, the Sixers were playing the second game of a back-to-back while the Knicks had a day off after beating the Miami Heat at home.

This time it’s the Sixers who are rested while the Charlotte Bobcats arrive in Philadelphia after beating the Knicks at home on Tuesday night.

So with that in mind, here are a few things to look out for in Wednesday night’s game:

1. Beware of the back-to-back
It’s no shocker that the Sixers are just 3-8 in the second game of back-to-backs. However, the Sixers also are not very good against teams playing in the second game of a back-to-back.

With Charlotte coming in after snapping the Knicks’ five-game winning streak on Tuesday night, it’s worth noting that the Sixers are 2-8 in games against teams playing the second game of a back-to-back. One of those wins was the opening night stunner against the Miami Heat. The other was the 126-125 double-overtime victory over the Magic in November.

2. MCW’s production

If there is such a thing as hitting the so-called rookie wall, Michael Carter-Williams is doing a pretty good job at heading it off.

Though he is shooting just 41.4 percent from the floor this month, Carter-Williams is 25 for 51 from the field with 65 points in his last three games. Though the point guard’s assists are down a touch since handing out 12 of them on Dec. 21, the rookie is still averaging 5.4 assists per game in his last nine.

Only one other rookie (Trey Burke of Utah) is averaging more than 3.5 assists per game this season.

3. So big
When Spencer Hawes got into foul trouble last Saturday against the Knicks, the Sixers were in big trouble. Lavoy Allen was on the bench with an injury and center Daniel Orton had been waived the day before. That opened it up for veteran big man Amar’e Stoudemire to score 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

But for Wednesday night’s game, the Sixers seem to have had a growth spurt. The team added center Dewayne Dedmon from the D-League on Tuesday. The 7-foot Dedmon appeared in four games for the Golden State Warriors this year and was averaging 15 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 15 games for the D-League's Santa Cruz Warriors.

The Sixers will, however, be without big men Lavoy Allen and Arnett Moultrie (see story).

4. He shoots ... and misses
Evan Turner is in a slump. After scoring 23 points in the Jan. 2 victory in Portland, Turner is shooting 17 for 47 from the field in his last four games, including a 2-for-13 performance in a loss at Cleveland. He also has gotten away from attacking the paint, which was the impetus to Turner’s high-scoring, fast start to the season.

Instead, Turner has settled for more long two-pointers and threes. On shots longer than 15-feet, Turner is shooting 76 for 210 (36.2 percent).

5. Injuries
Lavoy Allen (calf) is out.

Nerlens Noel (knee) and Jason Richardson (knee) are out indefinitely.

For Charlotte, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (broken hand) returned from a 19-game absence to log 30 minutes on Tuesday against the Knicks.

Second-year forward Jeff Taylor is out for the remainder of the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

WAYNE, Pa. — Three steps. 

That’s all it takes before Ben Simmons is recognized walking through the streets of Philadelphia. 

This year’s No. 1 pick has been in the spotlight long before the Sixers drafted him in June, and now he's experiencing what it's like to be known as an NBA player in his new city. 

“I’ve been enjoying walking around South Street, getting some Ishkabibble's,” Simmons said Tuesday after a special appearance at the Sixers' Camp at Valley Forge Military Academy. 

At 6-foot-10, Simmons towers above most on the court, let alone on the sidewalk. Fans have been eager to welcome him to Philadelphia for a new chapter of the organization after three years of struggle. 

“Positive things,” Simmons said of the comments he receives. “I think a lot of people are excited, so I’ve been looking forward to it.”

Simmons understands the impact a professional athlete can have on young fans, and was excited to be at camp Tuesday.

Growing up in Australia, he never had the opportunity to hear from NBA players when he attended basketball camps. Now that he's in that position, the 20-year-old was glad to provide that memory to the 240 campers. 

“That would mean a lot if I was able to experience that,” Simmons said. 

Simmons demonstrated skill drills, such as passing fundamentals, interacted in a Q&A session and signed autographs for each camper. He also took individual photos for those who traveled internationally, including from Nigeria, Italy and Greece. 

“I’m just like them, but older,” Simmons said. “I’m just trying to be a good role model to them.”

Simmons plans to spend most of the offseason in Philadelphia as he gets settled into the city. He still has to move into his new home, but at least he knows where to get a cheesesteak in the meantime. 

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

Two people with knowledge of the situation tell The Associated Press that the Miami Heat have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent guard Dion Waiters.

The two sides came to agreement on Monday. Waiters will make $2.9 million. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal.

Waiters averaged 9.8 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder last year, but had several big games in the playoffs. He played particularly well against Dallas and San Antonio in the playoffs before his role was reduced in the seven-game loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Waiters will give the Heat another scorer off the bench (see full story).

Blazers: C.J. McCullom inked to four-year extension
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A person familiar with the deal confirms that guard CJ McCollum has agreed to a four-year, $106 million contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday because the deal hadn't been formally announced by the team. It was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

McCollum, who was named the NBA's Most Improved Player, averaged 20.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Blazers during the regular season. He raised his scoring average by more than 14 points over the previous season.

As the 10th overall pick for the Blazers in the 2013 draft, McCollum bided his time on the bench for his first two seasons. He became a starter in the backcourt with Damian Lillard last season after four of the team's starters departed in the offseason (see full story).

Michael Jordan donates $2 million to ease racial tensions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan is trying to help ease tension between African-Americans and law enforcement.

The NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner said Monday he's giving $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The aim is to help build trust following several shootings around the country.

Jordan says in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday that "as a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers," (see full story).

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

The Sixers continued to add to their roster Monday, announcing the signing of guard Brandon Paul. 

Paul participated on the Sixers' summer league squad in Las Vegas, where he averaged 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 19.5 minutes. He also played for the Hornets in Utah. 

The 25-year-old went undrafted out Illinois in 2013 and has been playing overseas and in the D-League since then. Last season, he led FIATC Joventut (Spain) in scoring with 13.2 points per game. Paul also has been a member of the Canton Charge (D-League) and Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). 

Next season he could play for the Sixers' Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. 

Paul is one of several offseason additions for the Sixers. The team has signed Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez, James Webb III and Shawn Long. The Sixers also have reportedly agreed to a deal with Cat Barber.