Teague too much for Sixers in road loss to Hawks

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Teague too much for Sixers in road loss to Hawks

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA -- The old adage says that three times a charm. However, there was but nothing charming about the Sixers’ third-quarter performance Friday night in Atlanta.

The Sixers watched a two-point advantage at halftime turn into an 11-point deficit midway through the third quarter in a 113-103 loss to open up their three-game road trip (see Instant Replay).

“I think where it stood out to me as far as the turning point, I didn’t think we started the third quarter very well at all,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “We came out and we give them credit, they jumped us, and from that point going forward they were far more the aggressor.”

“Our bench came in and got us back in it and showed great energy, but at that point you could feel the momentum was swinging. We give them credit. We didn’t do a great job of starting that second half.”

The Hawks used a 12-2 run to seize control in the third quarter. In the end, the Sixers were outscored 28-17 in the frame to go into the final quarter down by nine points.

“I think in the third quarter the ball just stuck,” said Thaddeus Young, who scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the loss. “We didn’t continue to move the ball around like we usually do.

“When we have quarters like that it is tough for us to get back into a game physically and mentally. We just have to get back to the flow of the game, the feel of the game and how we are used to playing.”

Things definitely bogged down for the Sixers after intermission. They had 21 assists in the game, but only seven of those came in the second half.

The Sixers were led in scoring by Evan Turner’s 27 points. Turner has scored at least 20 points in nine of the Sixers’ 10 games this season.

Spencer Hawes finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double this season.

However, it was the Hawks’ double-double man on this night that sealed the Sixers’ fate.

Jeff Teague scored a career-high 33 points to go along with 10 assists in Atlanta’s victory. He connected on 10 of 16 shots from the field and 12 of 13 from the free throw line.

“When you watch their games this year, you see they go to him a lot and you can see why they go to him a lot,” Brown said. “We tried different pick-and-roll schemes. He was really good tonight. He is a hard guard and he was at the rim a lot. We tried a bunch of different ways to defend him and not many worked.”

“Jeff is a tough handle,” Young said. “He is one of those guys who can do anything on the court besides post up. He can handle the ball. He can shoot threes. He can kill you going to the basket. He has a nice floater and he knows how to get into the bigs and make it difficult on us trying to block his shot.”

Teague came into the game averaging 18.1 points and 9.9 assists, both career highs.

While the Sixers knew the veteran Teague was a threat coming in, they likely didn’t expect the same from forward DeMarre Carroll. Carroll is playing for his fifth team in five seasons, but he felt right at home inside Philips Arena on Friday night.

Carroll scored 21 points in the game. He shot 8 of 14 from the field, including 5 of 8 from three-point range to give him 12 threes for the season. By comparison, he made just 20 three-pointers all of last season with the Utah Jazz.

“I think DeMarre Carroll has been a really good addition for them,” Brown said. “I remember talking to Bud (Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer) and him saying maybe he can be a Bruce Bowen-type. He can chase and use his length and play defense that way. And then if he can better his three-point range and be more efficient, and it looks like they have achieved that.

“His threes hurt us. Five for eight from behind the line was a great night for him.”

The Sixers continue their three-game road trip in New Orleans Saturday night when they face off against former teammate Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans.

Warriors complete comeback, oust Thunder in Game 7

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The Associated Press

Warriors complete comeback, oust Thunder in Game 7

OAKLAND – They beat the odds, clobbering them into submission.

Facing a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors rallied to take three successive games over Oklahoma City, finishing the epic comeback with a 96-88 victory in Game 7 Monday night before a delirious sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Klay Thompson fired in 21, as the Warriors become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA playoffs – and the first to do so in the West finals.

Draymond Green added 11 points and also had a team-high nine rebounds, as the Warriors battled the bigger Thunder nearly even on the glass, 47-46.

Curry splashed 32 3-pointers in the series, the most ever for a player in a seven-game playoff series.

Ratcheting up the defense, the Warriors overcome a 42-point first half, their lowest total at home all season. They trailed by as much as 13 before storming back.

Kevin Durant scored 27 points to lead the Thunder. Russell Westbrook added 19.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

When his team needed him most, Curry was at his MVP best.

Curry’s line: 36 points (13-of-24 shooting from the field, 7-of-12 from beyond the arc), eight assists and five rebounds. He played 40 minutes and finished plus-18 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After OKC took a 54-48 lead on a Durant fadeaway with 8:15 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 23-4 run to go up 71-58 on an Anderson Varejao floater with 58.3 seconds left in the quarter.

Six different Warriors scored during the run, lead by Curry with six points. They held the Thunder to 2-of-11 shooting, with three turnovers, during the run.

The Warriors outscored the Thunder 29-12 for the quarter.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors on Thursday play host to Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Tipoff is scheduled for 6pm.

P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

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P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

Thirty-five years is more than enough time to get a sense of who a person is and how they do their job. That is how long Brett Brown has known P.J. Carlesimo, which made it easy for the Sixers' head coach to have interest in adding him to the staff. 

With Mike D’Antoni leaving to coach the Rockets, the Sixers had a vacancy at the associate head coach position. On Sunday, though, Carlesimo decided not to join the Sixers’ staff and remain a television analyst.

“He was a natural fit for me,” Brown said Monday following a pre-draft workout. “For family reasons, he just couldn’t do it. We talked a lot and it was an emotional thing from P.J.’s perspective. 

“P.J. is a very close friend of mine and he made that decision for family reasons and I understand it. The phone call really didn’t surprise me knowing what I know of him and how he views his family, having to travel across the country the whole time.”

Like D’Antoni, Carlesimo has a lengthy résumé on the NBA sidelines. He was a head coach for parts of nine seasons and worked five as an assistant coach. Brown called working with D’Antoni “a real learning experience,” and an ideal candidate would have similar experience to help both the staff and the young roster.

“That role will be filled with maybe that type of flavor,” Brown said. “I know this, we are still in a complete development mode. We still have a bunch of 20-year-olds, guys that could be with us for a long time, but they’re not old, that we have to make sure that the city and me, we remember that. We still need people and teachers that can teach and coach and establish relationships. 

“So you tick boxes on relationships, teaching, development, those still rule the day. If you can do that with some veteran wisdom and some type of experiences like Mike’s, say, or P.J. had, well then you’re really knocking it out of the park.”

Coaching vacancies are coveted at this level. With the No. 1 pick in the draft, a revamped front office, and a 125,000-square foot training facility under construction, the Sixers have enhanced the appeal of the role. 

"My phone is very active, as you can imagine," Brown said. "I think it’s a highly attractive position. … Like our draft picks, I too spend a lot of time studying who will be the best fit for me and our program."

NBA draft profile: Kentucky G Jamal Murray

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NBA draft profile: Kentucky G Jamal Murray

Jamal Murray

Position: Guard

Height: 6-5

Weight: 210

School: Kentucky

It's tough for a Kentucky star freshman to fly under the radar, but that's exactly what Murray did last season. While Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield and Denzel Valentine dominated the spotlight, Murray was quietly as good as anyone in the country for the second half of the season.

In Kentucky's final 14 games, Murray averaged just under 24 points and shot better than 46 percent from three-point range. For the season, he averaged an even 20 points and connected on 41 percent of his three-point attempts. He also chipped in an impressive 5.2 rebounds. 

Kentucky lost some games early and fell toward the bottom of the Top 25 rankings. But Murray continued to produce and played his best basketball down the stretch, lifting the Wildcats to 27 wins and SEC regular season and tournament titles. 

As good as he was during his only college season, Murray projects to be an even better pro. He's the best guard prospect in the 2016 NBA Draft. 

Strengths
Shooting the ball. He has the best shooting stroke of any prospect in this year's draft. Murray's form on his jump shot is textbook with the results to match. He's able to get his shot off quickly and has range well beyond the NBA three-point line. Murray's outside shot is his greatest asset. Shooters are always in high demand and have never been more valuable in the NBA. The defending champion Warriors offer all the proof you need of that.

However Murray isn't a one-dimensional player. He can get to the basket off the dribble and is a terrific finisher around the basket. He also developed a polished mid-range game during his time at Kentucky. Murray also plays hard — a characteristic that NBA executives monitor closely. He rarely takes a possession off and competes hard on the glass for a perimeter player, as evidenced by his five rebounds per game last season.

Weaknesses
Murray doesn't have a defined position on the NBA level. He's not a true point guard and isn't quite big enough to be considered a prototypical shooting guard. While NBA talent evaluators are concerned by this, I don't necessarily view it as a weakness. Murray projects as a combo guard, capable of playing point guard but also comfortable away from the ball. He's similar to the Trail Blazers' C.J. McCollum in that regard.

Murray isn't an elite-level athlete and by no means is he a great defender. He'll struggle to stay in front of the more dynamic perimeter players in the NBA. But he has a very good work ethic and should be able to improve defensively.

How he'd fit with the Sixers
Extremely well. The 76ers need shooters. That need will only become exaggerated if and when they draft Ben Simmons with the No. 1 pick. With Simmons, Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, the Sixers have a significantly frontcourt-heavy nucleus. They need quality guards to balance out their lineup.

The much-discussed hypothetical trade that would send Okafor to the Celtics for the No. 3 pick makes a ton of sense for the 76ers. They could clear out space in their frontcourt rotation as well as acquire Murray with that third pick. Murray would flourish playing alongside Simmons, knocking down the open jump shots that Simmons creates.    

NBA comparison
I see a mix of Bradley Beal and Eric Gordon in Murray's game. Beal and Gordon have similar builds to Murray and both entered the NBA as exceptional shooters. All three are natural scorers who have no problem getting their own shot on the NBA level.

Draft projection
Murray will be a high-end lottery pick. He could go as high as No. 3 to the Celtics and shouldn't fall any lower than No. 6 to the Pelicans.