Sixers-Bucks: What you need to know

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Sixers-Bucks: What you need to know

Sixers vs. Bucks -- 8 p.m., CSN
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee

Last meeting
The Bucks have taken the first two meetings with the Sixers and if they win a third, they take the season series. If the Sixers and Bucks are tied at the end of the season, head-to-head matchups are the first tiebreaker.

On Jan. 22, Ersan Ilyasova scored 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Bucks to a 110-102 victory. The Sixers battled back from an early 10-point deficit thanks to 23 points from Evan Turner, 21 from Spencer Hawes and 20 from Nick Young.

The Sixers go into the game trailing the Bucks by three games for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“It’s really a two-game swing either way,” Hawes said. “We have to realize that and can’t be looking forward to the [All-Star] break.”

Records
Sixers: 22-28 (fourth place in Atlantic Division; ninth place in the Eastern Conference)

Bucks: 25-25 (third place in Central Division; eighth place in the Eastern Conference)

Previous games
The Sixers wrapped up a 5-3 homestand by getting drubbed by the Los Angeles Clippers, 107-90, Monday night. The Sixers trailed by as many as 32 points in the fourth quarter and were victims to a bevy of highlight-reel dunks from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

“It was the most impressive performance against us I’ve seen all year,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said.

The Bucks missed a chance to gain ground in the standings by losing to Washington, 102-90, on Monday night. Monta Ellis scored 24 points with eight assists and seven rebounds, but his backcourt mate Brandon Jennings shot just 3 for 17.

Who's hot
Nick Young scored 29 points on 10-for-18 shooting with four three-pointers in the loss to the Clippers. Over his last 10 games, Young is averaging 16.1 points and 1.6 steals per game. Interestingly, Young’s 10-game averages and 29-point game came on the heels of a pair of games in which the guard shot 6 for 21, including 0 for 7 from three-point range.

Headed into his third game of his first 10-day contract, newcomer Jeremy Pargo has proved a spark off the bench while dropping in 22 points on 8-for-22 shooting. Pargo also got to the foul line seven times in the last two games, which is more than starters Lavoy Allen, Turner, Jrue Holiday and Hawes … combined.

In his last four games, ex-Sixer Sam Dalembert has three double-doubles with 42 rebounds and 65 points. Thirty-five of those points came in the Feb. 5 loss to Denver.

The more you know …
A game after pulling down a career-high 22 rebounds on Saturday night, Allen did not get his first rebound until the waning moments of the third quarter of Monday’s loss to the Clippers. Allen finished the game with two rebounds and narrowly missed becoming the first player in NBA history to get 20-plus rebounds in one game and zero in the next. … Turner is one of six players in the NBA averaging 13 points, six rebounds and four assists per game. The others? LeBron James, Joakim Noah, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce and Nicolas Batum. … Turner has not made a three-pointer in his last seven games. He’s 0 for 7 over that stretch. … In the last four games, Holiday is shooting just 36.5 percent. … Young has 43 turnovers in 45 games this season. … Holiday and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook are the only players in the NBA averaging 18-plus points and 8-plus assists per game. The only Sixer to finish a season averaging 18-plus points and 8-plus assists is Wilt Chamberlain (1967-68).

Probable starters
Sixers (last 10 games)
Jrue Holiday (18.1 ppg, 8.3 apg )
Nick Young (16.1 ppg, 1.2 spg)
Spencer Hawes (12 ppg, 8.2 rpg)
Lavoy Allen (6.7 ppg, 7 rpg)
Evan Turner (13.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg)

Bucks (last 10 games)
Monta Ellis (16.1 ppg, 5.4 apg)
Brandon Jennings (17.5 ppg, 7.2 apg)
Sam Dalembert (11.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg)
Ersan Ilyasova (16.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg)
Mike Dunleavy (10.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg)

Injuries
Andrew Bynum (bone bruises) is out indefinitely.

Jason Richardson (knee) is out for the season.

Thad Young (hamstring) is out for two more weeks.

For the Bucks, Larry Sanders (hip/back) missed Monday’s game and is doubtful for Wednesday.

Luc Mbah a Moute (leg) left Monday’s game after 14 minutes of action.

Joel Embiid says he's '100 percent' back from foot injury, excited to play with Ben Simmons

Joel Embiid says he's '100 percent' back from foot injury, excited to play with Ben Simmons

AVALON, N.J. -- Joel Embiid has been waiting since 2014 to make his NBA debut. Two years later, the former third overall pick is nearing that day.

“I feel a hundred percent,” Embiid said Saturday at the Sixers Beach Bash. “I’m ready to get started. My summer has been great. We’ve been working out a lot this past summer, just getting some runs in. I’ve gotten a chance to play a little bit against the guys.” 

Embiid’s pro career has been sidelined by injuries, undergoing two foot surgeries in as many years. The first was to repair a stress fracture in his right navicular bone. The second, a bone-graft operation on the same bone. 

The 7-foot-2 big man has been rehabbing since then, traveling as far as Qatar in the process. This offseason Embiid was cleared for monitored, five-on-five drills. He joined the Sixers during the Las Vegas Summer League to continue his recovery away from game competition.

“It’s been really tough,” Embiid said. “The main thing is, I haven’t gotten a chance to get on the court and play, or help my teammates, or play in front of Sixers fans. I look forward to it and I can’t wait.”

Embiid said he “definitely” plans to be a go for training camp. He expects there will be a transition period once cleared to play given the length of his rehab, but notes he is a quick learner. Embiid also anticipates having restrictions, but has not discussed the specifics with the Sixers. 

“Probably,” he said. “But I think the restrictions would probably be about the fact that I haven’t played in two years. It’s not going to be about because people are worried that I’m going to re-injure myself, which I don’t think is going to happen.”

One player who is eager for Embiid’s return is rookie first overall pick Ben Simmons. The two have been friends since high school. They easily gel off the court, and plan to do the same in games. 

“He has great footwork, he has great touch, so I’m looking forward to playing with him,” Simmons said, continuing, “Off the court, we’re like brothers. We have fun.” 

Embiid has been present with the Sixers for games and practices. He has had numerous conversations with head coach Brett Brown about his days on the San Antonio Spurs coaching staff and how the organization achieved success with fellow big Tim Duncan, one of Embiid’s basketball role models. 

With an abundance of bigs, the Sixers will have to determine how they share the floor. For Embiid, who can also knock down long-range shots, he plans to fill whatever role the coaches outline for him.

“I think I’ll take a couple threes, but I’ll do what’s best for the team and whatever I’ll feel comfortable doing,” he said. “Obviously they’re going to need my presence inside and that’s what I’m going to do. But when I’m open, I might fire some threes.”

After a series of setbacks, Embiid is enthusiastic about the thought of making his NBA debut. 

“It feels great,” he said. “Especially after the past two years, I haven’t been able to do what I love. It just feels great.”  

Sixers trade Kendall Marshall to Jazz for center Tibor Pleiss, draft picks

Sixers trade Kendall Marshall to Jazz for center Tibor Pleiss, draft picks

The Sixers on Friday traded point guard Kendall Marshall to the Utah Jazz for center Tibor Pleiss, two future second-round picks and cash. 

Both second-round picks are in the 2017 NBA draft. The Jazz have four second-rounders — their own, as well as the ones belonging to the Warriors, Knicks and Pistons. The Sixers will receive the highest and lowest of those four picks.

The Sixers are likely to waive Pleiss. The team made a similar move in July, waiving center Sasha Kaun two days after acquiring him in a trade with the Cavaliers.

Marshall, who was later waived by the Jazz after the deal, was likely to be cut by the Sixers. The team signed guards Gerald Henderson, Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez this offseason. The deal gives the Sixers future assets and cash while unloading a player signed by the previous front office.

Marshall was one of the few free agents Sam Hinkie added, signing a deal for the 2015-16 season and options for the next three seasons.

It looked initially like Marshall would be the starting point guard last season. However, Marshall, was hurt to begin the season and struggled when he got on the court. He played just 30 games and started six, averaging 3.7 points per game in 13.3 minutes. His field goal, three-point and free throw percentages all regressed from his 2014-15 season with the Bucks.

Pleiss was originally a second-round pick by the Nets in the 2010 NBA draft. The German center's rights were dealt in three separate deals, eventually ending up with the Jazz last offseason. He signed a multi-year deal and spent the 2015-16 season bouncing between the Jazz and their D-League affiliate. He averaged 2.0 points per game in 6.8 minutes. 

NBA Notes: City officials declare Kobe Bryant Day in Los Angeles

NBA Notes: City officials declare Kobe Bryant Day in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES -- Lakers fans packed Los Angeles City Hall chambers to witness the mayor and other officials declare Kobe Bryant Day in honor of the retired NBA superstar.

Councilman Jose Huizar said Wednesday's declaration is the city's way of thanking Bryant for his excellence on the court and philanthropic efforts across Los Angeles.

Bryant attended with his pregnant wife and their two daughters. He called the experience "surreal" and jokingly said someone would have to explain to his unborn daughter why "daddy has a day named for him."

Fans cheered and chanted Bryant's name as he was presented a framed proclamation by Mayor Eric Garcetti and council President Herb Wesson.

Bryant played his entire 20-season career with the Lakers, leading them to five NBA championships.

Lakers: No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram, vet Yi Jianlian signed
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers have signed top draft pick Brandon Ingram and Chinese NBA veteran Yi Jianlian and re-signed center Tarik Black.

Ingram was the No. 2 overall pick in this summer's draft. The Duke product's rookie contract is expected to be worth more than $23 million over four years.

The 28-year-old Yi hasn't played in the NBA since 2011-12 with Dallas. The former No. 6 overall draft pick by Milwaukee spent five seasons in the NBA, averaging a career-best 12.0 points and 7.2 rebounds for New Jersey in 2009-10.

Yi spent the past four seasons with the Chinese Basketball Association's Guangdong Southern Tigers. He is an eight-time MVP of the CBA, winning four championships.

The 6-foot-11 Yi averaged 20.4 points per game for China at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Black has averaged 5.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in two seasons with the Lakers.

Timberwolves: Towns chosen as face of 2K mobile app
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns has been tabbed to be the face of 2K's mobile companion application to NBA 2K17 video game, which is set to launch on Sept. 8.

The reigning rookie of the year will be the icon cover athlete for MyNBA2K17, the latest in a series of high-profile endorsements for Towns. The NBA 2K franchise has been the No. 1 selling NBA video game for the last eight years.

"I've been a dedicated NBA 2K fan since I was young, and being selected as the face of MyNBA2K17 is an incredible milestone this early in my career," Towns said on Wednesday. "Playing MyNBA2K and NBA2K is an essential part of my offseason and keeps me grounded during the season with all my travel. I love that I will have the opportunity to connect further with my fans through MyNBA2K17."

The free app connects players to the NBA 2K17 console game and includes facial scanning technology. That allows fans to design players for the game on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 using their own facial features. The app also allows users to watch 2KTV on their mobile devices and play quick games and season tournaments against users around the world.

Towns also has deals with Nike and Samsung among others and made a guest appearance on the Disney television show "Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything" this summer.

On the court, he is teaming with Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn to try to end the Timberwolves' 12-year playoff drought.