A Brief and Scattered Interview With Evan Turner: Settling the Backstreet Boys vs. N Sync Debate

A Brief and Scattered Interview With Evan Turner: Settling the Backstreet Boys vs. N Sync Debate

I got the chance to talk with Evan Turner for a few minutes last Friday
after the team's win against the Golden State Warriors. There was so
much to talk with the Sixers' second-year swingman about, from the
pressures of being the #2 overall pick, to his seemingly tumultuous
relationship with second-year coach Doug Collins, to his up-and-down
play over the course of the NBA season. Evan is perhaps the team's most
enigmatic player, and I hoped that getting to talk with the man would
help shed light on some of the burning questions Sixers fans have had
about our promising Sophomore since he was drafted in 2010.

Instead, though, I mostly talked with him about hip-hop and '90s
TRL. Oh well—can't win 'em all, and I heartily enjoyed my time spent
with the Extraterrestrial just the same.

Andrew: How much fun did you have playing in the [Rising Stars] game?

Evan Turner: It was cool. It was dope. We had fun. We won, that was even better.

Were you slighted that they kind of picked you towards the end there, in the draft?

I don't really pay attention to that stuff.

Which of the guys there did you have the most fun playing with?

[Indiana's] Paul George is always a good guy. I enjoy watching him play, great person.

Seems like you and [Sacramento center] DeMarcus [Cousins] had a little bit of chemistry there.

Yeah, you know, he runs the court, makes himself available, and when he's that type of threat, it's easy to pass to him.

What's the biggest difference in the team between this season and the last season, you think?

I just think we're just maturing. You know, we're learning to
close out games and everything, we're not blowing leads and stuff, I
think that's the key to our success.

What's the biggest difference for you personally?

Nothin'. Just one more year experience, and that's pretty much it.

Well, does it feel easier? Does it feel better?

It's cool. You know, we're winning, so everything's cool. That's pretty much all you can really take from it.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like on a team where maybe
there weren't so many guys that are playing the same sort of position as
you are?

It'd be different, but at the same time, wondering
and wishing and all that stuff doesn't matter. You still gotta face
reality and the real world, so…let's focus on trying to better myself
every day, and keep getting better and that's it. Develop.

It seems like you guys are a close bunch of guys. Was it hard for you when Marreese [Speights] got traded?

Yeah,
we actually liked Marreese, you know? But it's better for him, [The
Grizzlies'] situation with him, he's been playing well and stuff. But
you know, Mo is a great guy and a great person, and just having him
around was key.

I see you guys on Twitter a lot—I saw that you and Spence over the summer were having an argument between who was better, the Backstreet Boys or N Sync. Care to stick up for your guys a little bit?

Yeah, the Backstreet Boys? They just made album after album. Hits, you know. 'N Sync only had…what was it…it wasn't Celebrity, it was No Strings Attached. Which was amazing from front to back. And then Celebrity was just overrated. And then Backstreet Boys, they been going hard with Millennium, you know, Black and Blue and all that stuff, so they been on top for a while. They still make music today! They're like a white Boyz II Men.

Were you a big TRL fan back in the day?

Yeah, that
was crazy! Carson Daly and stuff? That was back when pop music was
crazy, you know what I'm saying? You had Christina, Britney, 98 Degrees,
all those people. Tom Green, at one time he went #1, with the Bum Bum
Song? That stuff was dope!

Have you seen any of those TRL specials they've had on [VH1] these days?

Naw, I haven't. I never, ever really watch TV.

It seems like you're more into rap now. If you had to choose last year between [Drake's] Take Care, [Jay-Z and Kanye West's] Watch the Throne and [Lil Wayne's] Carter IV, what would your choice be?

That's rough, man. Those are all three great rappers and great albums. It all depends on what you want, man. Take Care
was cool. You know, Drizzy's a great guy, and he raps about stuff you
can relate to, but Jay-Z and Kanye did their thing, you know what I'm
saying? It's hard to decide between those two.

Who are you listening to now?

I listen to everybody,
man. I listen to old school. I still pop in old school Jay, old school
Em, I listen to Common, Big Sean, Drake…

Do you take a side in the Common/Drake feud?

Naw, I don't do none of that. I just enjoy the music.

Did you guys give Thad any crap for that blown dunk the other day?

Naw, naw, we didn't…actually I had forgot about that, to tell you the truth.

It looked like 'Dre was really upset about that.

Yeah,
it was a great pass! But hey, you ain't gonna make 'em all, right? I
think Thad finishes a lot, so he can afford to miss one every now and
then. When we're winning!

Any goals personally, for the team, for the rest of the season?

We just wanna win the Atlantic division. I think that's key for the team.

You think you guys got that?

We got a lot more basketball. We just gotta keep worrying about defending home court, and that's it. 

Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

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Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

As the Western Conference Finals are taking place in Oakland, the Sixers are looking for new talent of their own in California.

This week, members of the Sixers' front office are attending pre-draft workouts organized through multiple agencies, including BDA Sports Management, CAA Sports, Landmark Sports Agency, Octagon and Wasserman Media Group.

While the Sixers hold the No. 1 pick, these workouts are opportunities for them to evaluate players that could be fits for their 24th and 26th selections.

On Thursday, the list of workout participants included projected first-rounders Deyonta Davis (Michigan State) and Cheik Diallo (Kansas), according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

The scouting process takes NBA teams coast to coast. Earlier this week, the Sixers reportedly attended a private workout with Excel Sports Management in New York City, in which Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray participated.

The Sixers have held two workouts at their own practice facility, bringing in a total of 12 prospects thus far.

As the draft nears, 57 early-entry candidates withdrew their names from the 2016 draft.

NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination

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NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND, Calif. -- "We ain't going home! We're not going home!" Stephen Curry screamed at the top of his lungs.

No, his Golden State Warriors are going back to Oklahoma City, after keeping their title reign and the winningest season in NBA history alive for at least one more game.

Curry scored 31 points, raising his arms in the early moments to fire up Golden State's raucous crowd, and the defending champions staved off elimination with a 120-111 victory over the Thunder on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

"We just did what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to win at home," Curry said. "We know what we still have to do going forward. ... We knew if we didn't win we were going home. There's no other motivation you need."

For all the speculation about the current state of Curry's beat-up body -- that troublesome ankle, sore knee or tender elbow -- he did it all.

"I thought he looked like 91 percent," coach Steve Kerr cracked. "He came out and played a really good game. That's all I can tell you. He's going to compete every night. He had an excellent night and helped us get it done."

Led by Curry, the Warriors looked like their old winning selves again.

The MVP made a snazzy layup late and dished out six assists, while Klay Thompson added 27 points as Golden State sent the best the best-of-seven series back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 on Saturday night. The Warriors trail 3-2 and are trying to become just the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

"None of us want to go home," Thompson said. "We're having too much fun out there."

Kevin Durant scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook added 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals for the Thunder, trying for the fifth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history and first championship since moving from Seattle.

The record-setting, 73-win Warriors, coming off their first back-to-back defeats all season, had been blown out in two losses at Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points.

"We have to take that game and travel," Curry said of keeping momentum.

Durant's 3-pointer with 4:34 left got the Thunder within 103-98, then Curry answered with a three-point play.

Curry scored seven points in a 58-second stretch of the second quarter and hit more big shots late, but the Thunder didn't go away easily.

"I liked our will, I liked our fight," Kerr said. "We were embarrassed in OKC the last couple games."

Trailing 58-50 at halftime, Oklahoma City came out of the break with a 9-2 run. Westbrook's 3-pointer with 6:06 left in the third put Oklahoma City ahead 68-67 for its first lead of the night. But Golden State led 81-77 going into the fourth and began the final period with an 8-0 burst.

"We didn't shoot a particularly good percentage when we got into the lane and got into the deep paint," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "We had our opportunities."

Curry shot 9 for 20 and also had five steals, while Thompson had his 11th 20-point game for the second straight postseason despite shooting 2 for 9 from 3-point range. After struggling the past two games, Draymond Green had 11 points and 13 rebounds a day after receiving some encouraging words from Kobe Bryant on the phone.

"We really relied on the entire team tonight, which is when we're at our best," Curry said.

Kerr figured his Warriors might have an edge against the percentages of teams having trailed 3-1 because they're the defending champs and were playing at home, where they have been nearly unbeatable.

He wasn't surprised to see this team respond so well.

"We played with great desperation," Kerr said. "I knew how we would play. This is a championship team."

Kerr called for center Andrew Bogut to do more and the 7-footer delivered with a playoff career-high 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second double-double this postseason and seventh of his career.

Marreese Speights had a pair of three-point plays on follow shots and a 3 in the second quarter to give Golden State a nice lift off the bench. He had nine points in four minutes during that stretch and 14 points overall for his fifth double-digit scoring game this postseason.

"Their bench came in and made shots, made plays for them," Durant said. "We know we're going home. We can't relax."

Golden State made 31 of 34 free throws.

With his 1,248th career postseason point in the third, Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain (1,246) for second place on the franchise's playoff scoring list.

"That's who he is, that's what he's done, and that's what's made him a very good player," Donovan said.

Tip-ins
Thunder: The franchise lost in the finals in 1977-78, 1995-96 to Kerr and the Chicago Bulls and in `12. ... Steven Adams sat down with his second foul at the 9:34 mark of the first quarter. The Thunder had seven fouls to Golden State's one after the first. ... Oklahoma City took Game 1 at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost only three times all season. ... The Thunder started the game 3 for 14.

Warriors: Green picked up his fifth technical of the postseason. He also has at least one steal in 16 straight playoff games. ... Golden State missed six of its first seven 3s. ... The Warriors supported Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager with "Sager Strong" T-shirts for sale to support awareness and research for leukemia and lymphoma, both blood cancers.

Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez strikes out 12 in Marlins' win over Rays

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Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez strikes out 12 in Marlins' win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jose Fernandez struck out 12 in seven innings Thursday and won his sixth straight start for the Miami Marlins, a 9-1 decision over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Fernandez (7-2) struck out eight of the last 10 batters he faced and struck out every hitter in the Rays lineup at least once. The 23-year-old right-hander from Tampa gave up six hits in beating his hometown Rays for the first time in three tries. He finished the game with 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings, highest among major league starters.

Adeiny Hechavarria and Chris Johnson homered for the Marlins, who won three of four in their annual series against the Rays.

Hechavarria's third home run drove in the final two runs of a three-run second inning off Rays starter Drew Smyly. Johnson made it 5-0 with his second homer an inning later, Johnson's first hit in 22 interleague at bats (see full recap).

Rockies silence Red Sox, Bradley's hit streak
BOSTON -- Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story and Dustin Garneau hit two-run homers and the Colorado Rockies stopped Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 29-game hitting streak with a 8-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.

The win ended a three-game losing streak by Colorado and it ended a four-game winning streak for the Red Sox. Bradley's major league-best streak was halted when he went 0 for 4 after moving up to the leadoff spot for the first time this season.

Jon Gray (2-2) gave up a two-run home run to David Ortiz in the first, but pitched six scoreless innings before leaving in the eighth.

Clay Buchholz (2-5) took the loss. He pitched three perfect innings before things came apart in the fourth, when he gave up Gonzalez's homer with the other two coming the following inning (see full recap).

Happ leads Blue Jays past Yankees
NEW YORK -- J.A. Happ pitched seven strong innings, Edwin Encarnacion and Devon Travis had two-out RBIs, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-1 on Thursday to win the three-game series.

CC Sabathia was the tough-luck loser for New York, allowing just two unearned runs. Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first game since going on the disabled list May 4 with a strained right hamstring.

Happ (6-2) allowed one run on three hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and three walks. He has given up three earned runs or fewer in 19 of his last 20 starts.

Sabathia (3-3) retired the first seven batters before an error by shortstop Didi Gregorius on Travis' grounder with one out in the third (see full recap).