Turnovers prove costly in Sixers' loss in Brooklyn


Turnovers prove costly in Sixers' loss in Brooklyn


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.

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

CAMDEN, N.J. — Jahlil Okafor has been patient with his right knee. He was disciplined with restrictions and recovery during the preseason, recognizing the goal of being ready for opening night. 

At the same time, once he got back on the court he wanted more. Okafor played eight minutes Friday against the Heat, his first game since Feb. 28 before undergoing surgery to repair a right meniscus tear. 

“I don’t think I’m going to do eight again,” Okafor said Sunday. “They kind of heard me complain about that a lot. I think it’ll definitely be more than eight, but it won’t be much more.” 

Okafor has been limited since aggravating his knee during the final day of training camp. He practiced “to tolerance” on Sunday, according to the Sixers. Okafor did not participate in the team scrimmage and worked out individually with assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning Todd Wright. 

The second-year big man did not feel soreness on Saturday following the game. On Sunday, he felt “kind of stiff” during practice. Brett Brown has been watching Okafor’s movement closely. While Okafor considered it to be “good,” Brown was a tougher critic. 

“I think he looked OK,” Brown said. “He didn’t look great to me today. I’ll give him a B-minus … It’s always how do you move? East, west, north, south, how do you move?” 

Okafor scored four points and had one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover in Miami. He focused on his defense during the game. When he subbed out, he checked in with Elton Brand on the bench to receive feedback from the now-retired veteran. Okafor plans to continue to tap into him for advice throughout the season. 

With opening night three days away, Okafor still plans to be on the floor for it.

“I am optimistic about it,” he said. “I should be ready to go.” 

Robert Covington sprained his right ankle in Friday’s game and did not practice Sunday. Brown anticipates Covington, who has been starting at small forward, also will be ready to go Wednesday. 

“I do (expect him to play),” Brown said. “But we won’t know that for sure yet.” 

Sixers waive retired Elton Brand
The Sixers waived Brand on Sunday, making his retirement official. Brand announced his intentions to walk away from the game Thursday. The Sixers' request of waivers was a procedural step. The roster currently stands at 19. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said last week (see story). “But it’s definitely time now.” 

Brand celebrated his career with his teammates at Komodo in Miami on Thursday night ahead of their preseason finale against the Heat. 

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.