Under Brown, Sixers focused on attacking rim

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Under Brown, Sixers focused on attacking rim

The Sixers were back at the friendly confines of their PCOM practice facility Thursday afternoon after spending the previous six days overseas.

Their participation in the NBA’s Global Games proved to be a positive experience both on and off the court.

For first-year head coach Brett Brown it was a great learning experience in getting to know his team.

The Sixers played two close games, winning one and losing one and in both Brown saw a group that has little control. You would think would drive a coach crazy, but not Brown, not at this stage of the game.

“We are not going to have any controlled pace, we are going,” Brown said smiling. “The negatives are how much we turn it over and how wild we are and how reckless we are and not really understanding time and score. But in an inverted way it is not a bad thing.”

“They are trying to get out and make plays and make things happen, so the turnovers were generated by that frantic pace. If I had one or the other now, I would choose pace. We will try to calm down as things move forward.”

The Sixers committed 46 turnovers in the two games, but that frantic pace also allowed for guys to get to the rim, where at times they were able to finish. Other times they were rewarded by going to the foul line.

Evan Turner in particular showed his willingness to attack -- something we had previously seen on occasion. This year the three-year veteran promises it will be in his daily repertoire.

“I feel the whole thing is not stopping short sometimes,” Turner said. “Attack, try to go up and go strong. Sometimes after a while I would stop attacking and stop short and just shoot pull-ups. So I am trying to find bodies and make sure I keep the ball up. That is key.”

In two games Turner’s aggressive approach was rewarded with a team-high 22 free throw attempts.

For comparison, last season Turner averaged a career high 2.5 free throw attempts per game and the Sixers as a whole averaged 16.8, second-fewest in the NBA.

That number will increase this season because Brown has all his players thinking about getting to the paint.

“We just try to take what’s there and take good shots every possession,” guard Tony Wroten said. “If the three-pointer is there we are going to take a good three-pointer, but getting to the hole and getting to the paint is our priority.”

Wroten excelled in both areas, tying James Anderson for the team lead with four threes, as well as making 16 of 18 free throw attempts.

“We talk to our players that it has to finish with the paint," Brown said. "Just getting the ball over halfcourt quickly and not continuing to do something with it is not what we are trying to do. We want to try to get to the paint, get to the line, get to the rim. I feel like we are doing that.”

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

NEW ORLEANS -- Of all the players Joel Embiid could be compared to, a similarity between a 7-foot-2, 270-something-pound center and a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard wouldn’t seem like a match.

That’s exactly what Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry sees, however, when looking at Embiid and reigning MVP Steph Curry.

“He’s different than anybody that’s been in this league in a long, long time,” Gentry said Thursday before the Sixers win over the Pelicans. “He’s a tremendous talent, he really is. I’ve never seen a guy that size, and with that kind of strength, that’s got such a soft touch. He shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry. It’s so soft when it leaves his hand.”

Curry is shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three. Embiid is 45.8 percent from the floor is 44.2 percent from long range.

Embiid flashed a big smile and paused to react when hearing of Gentry’s praise. He had been feeling hard on himself after going 0 for 5 beyond the arc against the Pelicans (see story).

“Steph is probably one of the best shooters in the league right now," Embiid said. "So that compliment means a lot."