6 observations from Sixers-Nets

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6 observations from Sixers-Nets

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Another game, another three-point barrage against the Sixers. Here are six observations from the Nets’ 130-94 victory over the Sixers on Monday night at the Barclays Center (see Instant Replay).

1. Back when Kevin Garnett played for the Celtics, his pregame psych-up theatrics caused a bit of a commotion. In games at the Garden, the Boston fans got fired up and cheered along with Garnett as he beat on the basket support, made a mess with the talcum powder at the scorer’s table before hopping and skipping onto the floor with fist bumps all around.

But in Brooklyn, the crowd is a little more laid-back and cool. Garnett’s theatrics aren’t broadcast on the scoreboard at the Barclays Center. In fact, Garnett got tangled up in the cord of a courtside camera when going through his regimen.

Whatever it is about Garnett’s routine, it works. In his 19th year in the NBA, Garnett knows what it takes to get himself ready and on Monday night, it worked. Garnett drilled a 19-footer on the first shot of the game. He also contributed four rebounds and three assists and was a plus-26 in 12 minutes during the first half.

2. Evan Turner hobbled off the floor and into the locker room just 90 seconds into the game with what turned out to be a contusion to the nail bed of his left big toe. Given the pounding the players’ feet take during a game, let alone an 82-game season, it’s a wonder Turner had a toe nail to protect the nail bed in the first place.

Turner didn’t stay off the floor long. Presumably, he had the toe bandaged and that was good enough.

3. Paul McCartney attended the game in Brooklyn. Any time a Beatle is in the building, it automatically becomes one of the top-two coolest places in the world.

4. Clearly the biggest issue during the Nets’ slow start to the season was the absence of point guard Deron Williams. Playing in his fourth game in a row, Williams had a knack for being in the middle of everything. Early in the first, Williams picked up an assist, stole the inbounds pass and stepped back to drill a three-pointer. On that one, Brett Brown called a quick timeout and lit into his team.

Meanwhile, Williams dished out a season-high 13 assists. Those passes led to 34 points. Conversely, the Sixers’ got five layups from their top assist man, Turner.

5. Before the game, Nets coach Jason Kidd warned his team that the Sixers would not relent from their up-tempo pace. Because the Sixers are the youngest team in the league with an average age of 23.5 and the Nets are the third-oldest with an average age of 30, the pace could have led to some uncomfortable moments.

“No matter what the score is, these guys keep coming,” Kidd said. “They play 48 minutes. [The Sixers] come at you on makes and misses, so transition defense is going to be big.”

6. When Celtics great Larry Bird scored 60 points against the Atlanta Hawks in 1985, his outside shooting was so unbelievable that players on the Hawks’ bench were high-fiving each other. There was no high-fiving on the Sixers’ bench during the third quarter on Monday night, but no worries. Joe Johnson didn’t need it for everyone to know he was shooting the lights out.

Johnson scored 29 points in the third quarter against the Sixers, which is the fifth-most points scored in one quarter in NBA history (see video). It also is the most points scored in one quarter against the Sixers. Had Johnson’s right heel not been on the three-point line on one shot late in the quarter, he would have had an even 30 points in the quarter.

Johnson made eight three-pointers in the quarter and shot 10 for 13. He also had an assist, which is pretty incredible in itself.

Who scores 29 points in a quarter and gets an assist?

Johnson did not play in the fourth quarter, but finished the game with 37 points on 13 for 20 shooting, including 10 for 14 from three-point range.

Meanwhile, the Nets made 21 three-pointers. In the last two games, the opposition is 42 for 72 from three in the last two games.

NBA Notes: Derrick Rose reportedly in contract talks with Cavaliers

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NBA Notes: Derrick Rose reportedly in contract talks with Cavaliers

CLEVELAND -- The Cavaliers could be adding another former MVP to their roster.

Looking to close the gap on the champion Golden State Warriors, Cleveland is in contract talks with free agent guard Derrick Rose, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Thursday. Rose, whose career has been sidetracked by injuries, could sign a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum, according to the person, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

Cleveland has salary cap issues and is limited in what it can offer Rose, who made $21.3 million while playing in 64 games for the New York Knicks last season.

ESPN.com first reported the Cavs' pursuit of the 28-year-old Rose. Other teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, are interested in him.

Although Rose may not be the same player he was in 2011 when he was named the league's MVP while with the Chicago Bulls, he can still score and would be another nice compliment to LeBron James, a four-time MVP (see full story).

Heat: Haslem returns for 15th season
MIAMI -- Udonis Haslem believes he can still play, and the Miami Heat apparently agree.

The three-time NBA champion has signed a one-year, $2.3 million deal to remain with the Heat for what will be his 15th season. Haslem was already the longest-tenured player in Heat history, with all of his NBA seasons coming for his hometown team.

Among active players, only Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have spent the entirety of a career spanning at least 15 years with one franchise.

"It is a great, great, day to have Udonis Haslem sign a contract for his 15th season with the Miami Heat," team president Pat Riley said Thursday, when the contract was announced. "He isn't just Mr. 305, he is a true patriarch of the team. Today we are proud to announce that he is back to lead the Heat again" (see full story).

Jazz: Griffin inks two-way contract
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz signed big man Eric Griffin to a two-way contract Thursday.

Contract details were not released.

Griffin was a member of the Jazz during NBA summer leagues in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. He averaged 10.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in Vegas.

The 6-foot-8, 205-pound center/forward played for Hapoel Galil Gilboa in the Israeli Basketball Premier League last season, averaging 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds.

This is the first time the Jazz have used the two-way contracts implemented by the NBA for the upcoming season.

Teams can sign two players to these deals in addition to the 15-man roster. The contracts allow NBA teams to better compensate Gatorade League players expected to spend time with the big league team. Griffin can spend up to 45 days in the NBA.

As a Sixers fan, could you actually say no to LeBron James?

As a Sixers fan, could you actually say no to LeBron James?

Admit it, you see that headline and you say to yourself, "Really?" A case needs to be made for the most dominant, all-around player the league has seen since M.J. A guy who will go down as a top-five player ever at worst, arguably one or two in the history of the game. You’re saying, "Here we go again," this is clearly click bait or someone who has lost their flipping mind. James Naismith wouldn’t even bother turning over in his grave when pondering this one.

I mean, this is LeBron James we are talking about here. Forget the individual numbers, which are staggering. The MVPs, All-Star appearances, etc. Never mind the fact that he would be only 33 years old in the summer of 2018, when he is eligible to be a free agent. Hell, he looked older in high school than he does now (minus that pesky hairline thing). Greek gods are envious of the guy’s body. You can even put aside his considerable acting chops in Trainwreck — maybe I went a click too far there. Try focusing on the team aspect for a minute. He has led his squad to the NBA Finals seven consecutive seasons, winning three.

So what’s the catch here? Why wouldn’t any Sixers fan in the name of Alexey Shved want LeBron James playing for their team?    

Let’s assume, for our purpose, he would want to come here. Big assumption. But let’s dream for a minute. The 2017-18 Sixers, first and foremost, remain upright. Injuries are not an issue.

Joel Embiid, while staying healthy, dominates on the floor like he does on social media.

Ben Simmons is, in fact, the visionary, ball-dominant, 6-foot-10 Magic Johnson Jr.

Markelle Fultz is the peanut butter to Simmons' chocolate.

Dario Saric continues to be the all-purpose, tough, steadying presence while improving his jumper.

JJ Redick provides that sniper this team hasn’t seen in decades.

And Brett Brown can flat out coach.

In other words, all things work out perfectly. Add to that the Sixers' deep pocketbooks and payroll flexibility despite the need to take care of said core players. Plus, James and Simmons share representation. The two have even been tweeting at each other the last few days, and LeBron even wished Simmons a happy birthday.

Voila. Seems like a match made in heaven, right?

Wrong. At least for some Sixers fans.

Let me preface this by saying I am a believer in “The Process.” Have been from the start. But there seems to be a faction of Sixers fans or “Processors” who are against bringing in an established superstar of the ilk of LeBron James. Is this a linear thing? A championship can be achieved only by those core drafted pieces, by the nucleus of Embiid, Simmons, Fultz and Saric? Would LeBron somehow sully the purity of those Lake Hinkotonka waters? Would Sam disapprove? Would his brilliant mind somehow spontaneously combust in a Starbucks in Palo Alto with the news of adding a such an expensive and established piece? Do we really know what Hinkie’s vision at this point would be? Wasn’t this a key part of "The Process?" Clear cap space, and when the time is right, spend money with the big boys. Not bad money. Not Timofey Mozgov, Joakim Noah or Chandler Parsons.

We’re talking LeBron Freakin' James here.   

Is there not a need for someone with his skill set? Is it a chemistry thing? Clearly, that can’t be it. James is a chameleon, able to play any of four positions if needed. And while he may not be 25-year-old peak LeBron, he will still be great for a couple of years. And he has clearly proven that he can blend with talent around him.

Is it as simple as just good old fashion LeBron hate for “The Decision” or his perceived whininess? Golden State added Kevin Durant to an established, championship winning core that proved it could win without him. And that group was able to put egos aside. I’m confident the Sixers' young nucleus could do the same.

Are we really in a position in this town  — of any sports cities — to put parameters on how we get to the mountain top? Who cares how you get there so long as you get one — and hopefully more?  

Not me.