Instant Replay: Magic 112, Sixers 109 (OT)

Instant Replay: Magic 112, Sixers 109 (OT)


ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Sixers squandered another opportunity for a last-second win in Orlando, instead starting a five-game road trip with a disheartening and physically draining 112-109 overtime loss to the Magic on Monday.

Terrence Ross knocked down a fallaway jumper with 34.7 seconds to go in overtime, then followed with a pair of free throws 17 seconds later to give Orlando a four-point cushion that the Sixers couldn't overcome.

The Sixers got a three-pointer from Nik Stauskas with 11.9 seconds to play to cut the deficit to 108-107, but Evan Fournier and Jodie Meeks finished it for the Magic with 4 of 4 shooting from the free throw line in the final seconds.

The Sixers (26-44) led by as many as 17 points in the second half before getting careless with the ball and decision-making to let Orlando climb back in the game. The Magic (26-45) caught the Sixers when Dario Saric fouled out with 3:52 left in the game and Aaron Gordon made two free throws to tie the game at 92.

The Sixers had a chance to win the game in regulation after T.J. McConnell forced a Magic turnover with 5.7 seconds left. Brett Brown burned a timeout to set up a game-winning attempt but the play never developed and Justin Anderson's drive was easily snuffed by Elfrid Payton as time expired.
The Sixers took control of the game early in the second quarter, outscoring Orlando 20-6 over an eight-minute span and finished with a pair of free throws that gave them a 50-35 lead.

Inside the box score
• Richaun Holmes, who averages 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, doubled both in the first half when he had 17 points and nine boards. He tied a career high with 24 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds
• Saric had 18 points, but played only 26 minutes before fouling out with just under four minutes left in regulation. 
• The four Sixers reserves who played a total of 18 minutes in the first period contributed just two points and one rebound between them. Stauskas rescued the reserves, contributing 17 points to lead bench scorers.
Late arrival
The Sixers thought they would have only eight players to start the game, but Anderson, who missed the last game with gastroenteritis, caught a flight from Philadelphia Monday and played. Anderson played 27 minutes and scored one point with seven rebounds.

Injury update
A sore knee forced Jahlil Okafor to miss his 21st game this season. It's the same knee Okafor had surgery on and has bothered him before, but Brown said the team hasn't even considered sitting him out the last month of the season. 

"We're not going to overdramatize something that doesn't need to be overdramatized," Brown said. "You can manufacture a story to make it be serious, but you see him move and it's not as dramatic as it seems. We anticipate him playing soon and chances are when he gets on the floor, he'll be really good."

Gerald Henderson was also held out Monday to rest rather than play in back-to-back games.

Up next
The Sixers continue a five-game road trip with a visit to Oklahoma City for an 8 p.m. contest against the Thunder. The Sixers lost to OKC, 103-97, on opening night in Philadelphia.

Best of NBA: Spurs smack Cavs from top of Eastern Conference

Best of NBA: Spurs smack Cavs from top of Eastern Conference

SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cleveland Cavaliers 103-74 on Monday night in a showdown that turned into a major letdown for the defending NBA champions.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who won their fifth straight.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

In addition to scoring a season-low 17 points, Cavaliers superstar LeBron James was injured late in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the base of his neck. He remained on the bench for a while receiving medical attention, then headed toward the locker room and didn't return to the game.

His status was not immediately known (see full recap).

Thunder use late run to surge past Mavs
DALLAS -- Russell Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper with seven seconds left and the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 13-point deficit in the final four minutes to beat the Dallas Mavericks 92-91 on Monday night.

Westbrook scored 37 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, with 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his third straight triple-double and 37th of the season.

The Thunder finished on a 14-0 run, capped when they gained possession on a replay reversal with 13 seconds to go and Westbrook hit the decisive shot from just beyond the free throw line over Wesley Matthews. Westbrook scored 12 of the final 14 points.

Dallas didn't call a timeout, and Harrison Barnes missed a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer, clinching the first losing season for the Mavericks (31-42) since 1999-2000, the season that owner Mark Cuban bought the team with Dirk Nowitzki in his second year (see full recap).

DeRozan, Raptors notch 6th straight victory
TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored 36 points and Cory Joseph had 15 points and 13 assists as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 131-112 on Monday night for their sixth straight victory.

DeRozan, selected the Eastern Conference player of the week earlier in the day, set the pace early by scoring 18 in the first quarter. Joseph added six rebounds and Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors (45-29).

Elfrid Payton had 22 points and nine assists for Orlando (27-47). Evan Fournier added 20 points, and Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and 15 assists.

It was the first game between the teams since the Raptors traded Terrence Ross to the Magic for Serge Ibaka in February.

Ross finished with 17 points and two rebounds, while Ibaka had 16 points and seven rebounds (see full recap).

Report: Kings receive permission from Sixers to speak with Sam Hinkie

Report: Kings receive permission from Sixers to speak with Sam Hinkie

You can't make this stuff up.

After getting what is generally regarded as fleeced once upon a time by former Sixers general manager and president Sam Hinkie, the Sacramento Kings are reportedly interested in his services.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein and Zach Lowe on Monday, the Kings have expressed exploratory interest in Hinkie. Sources told ESPN that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive sought and received permission from Sixers owner Josh Harris to speak with Hinkie.

The Kings needed the Sixers' permission to speak with Hinkie because the executive is forced to sit out the entire 2016-17 season based on a non-compete clause in his contract that took effect when he resigned in April 2016.

The report states Hinkie's level of interest in the Kings or what his role would be alongside current president/GM Vlade Divac was not immediately known. It also says other undisclosed teams have sought permission to speak to Hinkie.

The Kings later released a statement denying the report: "The Kings are not hiring Sam Hinkie and have no plans to bring anyone in above Vlade."

Hinkie, hired prior to the 2012-13 season, engineered the Sixers' massive rebuild. The team struggled mightily during his three seasons at the helm as it finished with a 47-199 record. He stepped down on April 6 of last year and his role as team president was ultimately filled by Bryan Colangelo.

However, Hinkie set the Sixers up for the future by his continued flipping of players for assets. That includes perhaps his best deal, which involved the Kings.

In July 2015, Hinkie dealt the rights to Arturas Gudaitis and Luka Mitrovic to Sacramento for Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson. More importantly, the Sixers also got the rights to swap first-round picks in the 2016 and 2017 NBA drafts and an unprotected first-rounder in 2019.

The Kings made moves to recoup some of those lost assets at this season's trade deadline when they shipped star big man DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi for 2016 No. 6 overall pick Buddy Hield along with veterans Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway and a 2017 second-round pick.

"But I believe we are going to be in a better position in two years," Divac said to the Sacramento Bee. "I want to hear again from these same people in two years. If I'm right, great. If I'm wrong, I'll step down. But if I go down, I'm going down my way."

Hinkie went down in Philadelphia on his own terms, too. Now his terms may involve working with Divac -- or even taking over his job.

Just remember, Vlade, trust the process.