Turnovers prove costly in Sixers' loss in Brooklyn

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Turnovers prove costly in Sixers' loss in Brooklyn

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — The result was the same but the product looked much different than the last two games for the Sixers. 

This time, the Sixers were competitive.

The Sixers cut a 19-point deficit to two with 40.4 seconds to go against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night at the Barclays Center. They got close, but they never could get over the hump in a 108-102 loss (see Instant Replay).

“We got down twice big,” Brett Brown said. “To their credit they found a way to stay together and be in a position to maybe steal a win.”

The Sixers happily welcomed back Michael Carter-Williams to the starting lineup after a one-game absence due to right shoulder soreness. The rookie led the team in scoring with 21 points but he was 6 from 17 from the floor.

Carter-Williams also had six of the team’s season-high 26 turnovers, too. The turnovers proved to be as costly as expected.

“We had some careless turnovers,” Carter-Williams said. “We tried to force some shots that led to turnovers.”

The 26 turnovers led to 32 points for Brooklyn. 

“It continues to haunt us,” Brown said. “We have to get more responsible with the ball and I have to do a better job because it bites us continually.”

The Sixers committed nine turnovers in the first quarter and 10 turnovers in the third. They spread out the other seven between the second and the fourth quarters, both quarters they won.

“Isn’t that amazing how this sport works,” Brown said. “When you get to shoot you have a chance to score. At the end of end of the day, we talk about it but we haven’t addressed it. We play in a crowd. People think we can’t shoot. People see that we go to the rim more than anybody in the NBA, so they crowd the paint. We have to learn how to play better in that environment.”

Carter-Williams’ shooting percentage has dipped in his last seven games. This season he’s shooting a mediocre 40 percent from the floor, but over his last seven games that number is 34 percent. Some of that is caused by poor shot selection.

“Michael tried to impose himself on the game,” Brown said of Carter-Williams' 6 for 17 shooting. “At times he took some shots that perhaps he would reconsider. But at times games like that, given the pace and us moving, give those types of numbers.”

The numbers Brown referred to was the field goal attempts. MCW had 17 field goal attempts, Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner combined for 15. 

Still, there were seven Sixers players that attempted seven or more field goals.

The Nets played without Joe Johnson, who sat out with knee tendinitis. Brooklyn was led in scoring with 25 points from Paul Pierce.

The Nets lead the season series 2-1 with a final meeting at the Wells Fargo Center on April 5.

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."