Sixers lose composure, momentum late in loss


Sixers lose composure, momentum late in loss


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Sixers had a game going with the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter when Royce White lost his cool.

To make matters worse, some of White’s ire was directed at Cavs guard Jarrett Jack, who wasn’t even playing in the game.

The exchange took place at the 9:23 mark with the Cavaliers in front, 75-74. White had just picked up his fifth personal foul and then things unraveled.

“I was going to plead my case to the ref,” White explained after the Sixers’ 104-93 loss (see Instant Replay). “Me and Jarrett Jack exchanged some profane words and I guess they warranted me being ejected.”

The foul was White’s fifth but a technical foul sent him to the locker room. The Cavaliers went on a 16-3 run after that and went on to win the game.

“Momentum changes, momentum swings,” White said. “There were a lot of things going on in the game, but I am frustrated to hear that swung the momentum, especially because we were so close to closing the gap.”

“I think we have to learn how to react better to some referees’ decisions,” head coach Brett Brown added. “That is a young group that just has to learn how to get through stuff, but there were a lot of positives.”

One of those was the fight displayed by the Sixers. They trailed by as much as 12 in the first half before battling back to even grab the lead in the fourth quarter.

Spencer Hawes and James Anderson led the Sixers in scoring with 17 points each. Evan Turner, in his return to the Schottenstein Center on Ohio State University’s campus, scored 14 points on 4 for 13 shooting.

Still, for as much as Brown has praised his veterans for their leadership this fall, he thought they came up short in the fourth quarter on Monday.

“I thought that our starters did not come back ready to play in the fourth period,” Brown said. “Those are the things that stood out as things we have to be aware of and get better at.”

Prior to the game, Brown said he wanted to get a good look at rookie Rodney Williams, who has been hampered by a hamstring injury throughout the preseason. Williams played 19 minutes and still has the coach’s intrigue, despite not scoring and pulling down one rebound.

“You can see enough that his athleticism is always tempting, his size, his length,” Brown said. “I always feel like I am looking at a Nicolas Batum-type of player. He hadn’t played a game or practiced that much, so there were obvious hitches to his flow, but I thought it was good enough to continue to show interest.”

“I could have been more aggressive on offense,” Williams said. “But my focus was on defense and I thought I did pretty well in that.”

The Cavaliers were led by Kyrie Irving’s 17 points and 12 assists. Tristan Thompson was a beast on the backboard, collecting 16 rebounds to go with his 15 points.

The Sixers finish the preseason Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Timberwolves.

Best of NBA: Cavs roll after getting rings; Warriors blown out

Best of NBA: Cavs roll after getting rings; Warriors blown out

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James had his 43rd career triple-double, Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who raised their championship banner before the game, beat the New York Knicks 117-88 on Tuesday night in the NBA season opener.

James scored 19 points and added 11 rebounds and 14 assists in front of a raucous home crowd that was on its feet from the pregame ceremony until late in the game, celebrating the city's first championship in 52 years.

James, who spoke to the crowd before the game, continued his perfect record on ring nights. He was 2-0 when the Miami Heat players were presented with their championship rings.

Irving scored 19 points in the third quarter, when Cleveland used a 20-4 run to take a 74-53 lead. Kevin Love scored 23 for the Cavaliers.

Carmelo Anthony led New York with 19 points and Derrick Rose had 17 (see full recap).

Leonard, Spurs blow out Warriors in Durant's debut
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 35 points and the San Antonio Spurs emphatically spoiled Kevin Durant's long-awaited Warriors debut Tuesday with a 129-100 rout that sent Golden State fans for the exits early on opening night.

Durant had 27 points and 10 rebounds, but little looked in sync for MVP Stephen Curry and the reigning Western Conference champions in a forgettable first game -- and quite a different one after the Warriors dominated at home and came out of the blocks last season with a record 24-0 start.

Leonard scored 31 points by the end of the third, LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points and 14 rebounds and Gregg Popovich thoroughly outdid a couple of his close friends on the opposite bench in reigning NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr and top assistant Mike Brown (see full recap).

Yes, San Antonio sent quite a message to the West.

Blazers win 16th straight home opener
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Damian Lillard scored 39 points and the Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak in home openers to a league-record 16 straight games with a 113-104 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.

CJ McCollum added 25 points for the Blazers, who trailed 83-77 at the start of the fourth quarter. They were still down 102-99 with under 5 minutes left before McCollum made a pull-up jumper and 3-pointer to give Portland a 104-102 lead.

Lillard made a pair of free throws before nailing a 3-pointer that put Portland up 109-102 with 1:02 left and the Jazz couldn't catch up.

Joe Johnson scored 29 points in his debut with the Jazz and Rodney Hood added 26, including a rim-rattling dunk in the third quarter (see full recap).

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel has had surgery on his sore left knee, and the Sixers have not disclosed a timetable for the disgruntled center's return.

Noel has been out since the team's first preseason game. He initially had a left groin strain before experiencing soreness in the knee during rehab, and it was discovered he had an inflamed plica. 

The team is calling the surgery a "minor elective arthroscopic procedure." It was performed in New York by Dr. Riley J. Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Noel eventually will travel to Birmingham, Ala. to rehab with associate clinical director Kevin Wilk at Champion Sports Medicine.

The Sixers expect to have a timetable for his return once Noel returns to Philadelphia. According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Noel is expected to miss three to five weeks. 

This has been a rough preseason for Noel, who hasn't hidden his displeasure with his role on the Sixers' jammed frontcourt. The team has until Oct. 31 to extend his rookie contract but, per a report in the Inquirer earlier this month, the two sides have yet to discuss it.