Young enduring trade rumors amid tough season

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Young enduring trade rumors amid tough season

Thaddeus Young, who has been the subject of trade speculation this season, reportedly wants out of Philadelphia.

According to a report Thursday from Jake Fischer of LibertyBallers.com, Young submitted a formal trade request to the Sixers weeks before his name turned up in a potential deal involving disgruntled Houston Rockets big man Omer Asik.

"Thad is ready to leave Philly," a source close to Young said, according to the report. "He isn't with the whole tanking thing.

"Thad is kind of anxious. He just wants them to do the trade if they are. He hates waiting. [Playing for a contender] would be great because the Sixers definitely aren't making the playoffs this year."

Missing out on the playoffs certainly appears to be the route the Sixers are headed this season. They are currently on a season-high seven-game losing skid and are last in the Atlantic Division with a 7-19 record.

Young, 25, is the longest tenured Sixer in his seventh season. He has experienced his share of winning and losing throughout his career, but the way the Sixers have suffered one defeat after another this season has already begun started to wear thin.

“We are going out there and the first half is always great, but that third quarter always takes its toll,” Young said Wednesday. “We get down like 15 points and it is hard to come back from those types of deficits. I think that is the most frustrating thing. We need better outputs in the third quarter.”

Monday’s third quarter is probably stuck in Young’s craw. The Nets outscored the Sixers 42-25 -- another example of how bad their defense has been of late.

“We have to do what we are doing better,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “We don’t do what we do well. Really, a lot that has happened is that we don’t get back in transition defense or we have an inability to contain our own man. That gets us into a penetrate-and-pitch game.

“Our rules are the Spurs’ rules. There is nothing funky going on here. It is nothing that great. It is just doing what we do and doing it better.”

The Sixers make some mistakes that you just can’t believe could happen at the pro level. That's with Brown sticking to relatively vanilla schemes on both ends of the floor.

Young has witnessed opponents use that to their advantage against the Sixers.

“Coach [Maurice] Cheeks used to always say when I first came into the league they just don’t know, and now I really know what that means," Young said. "It’s just a lot of things that go on in a game, especially an NBA game, with a lot of young guys playing against 10-year vets like Paul Pierce and KG (Kevin Garnett). You just don’t know. They have ways that they pick you apart, ways they know but you don’t know.”

Individually, things are going well for Young. He is averaging a career-high 15.8 points and shooting a personal-best 34.9 percent from three-point range.

However, individual numbers without that winning feeling don’t sit well with Young.

“Just play and stay focused,” Young said of trying to stay positive. “I remind myself that I have to be a leader to my teammates and one of the key guys on my team. I just go out and play. I can’t let too much bother me. I have to focus in. You might get frustrated at times but, hey, that’s part of the game. That’s part of life.”

Young has always kept his emotions in check, played hard and did whatever was in the best interest of his team. He still does all that, but his frustrations have become visible at times this season.

Brown understands the irritation but wants to channel those emotions into teaching moments.

“We back up opinion with footage and stats, and we help them get better,” Brown explained. “It’s not meant to be embarrassing to anybody. It’s not meant to be scolding unless it’s just gross effort. When effort isn’t there we have problems, and when it’s execution I need to teach and coach and build something.

“I hope it’s an authentic real environment and they understand we’re here to help them. I’m with them and I’m not going anywhere."

Brown is sticking around. We'll find out if the same can be said for Young.

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."