Brown trying to help Evan Turner 'rescue' himself


Brown trying to help Evan Turner 'rescue' himself

The numbers aren’t pretty.

Evan Turner is averaging 11.6 points on 34 percent shooting over his last five games.

Those numbers are in stark contrast to the 21 points and 46 percent Turner averaged during the first month of the season.

The fourth-year swingman has been far less aggressive and the numbers prove that.

For example, Turner, the Sixers’ leading scorer with 17.8 points per game, was 0 for 2 from the floor for zero points and attempted no free throws in the first half against Boston on Wednesday.

“I just let the game come to me,” Turner said afterward. “I just try to play and go with the flow. That is pretty much it and whatever happens, happens.”

Turner finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in the Sixers’ 114-108 loss to the Celtics.

“I think any coach has to help a player get involved,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “I don’t want to just put him on an island and not find ways to help him, too. Every player will go through periods from time to time where they need a little bit of help.

“Generally, you always are hoping a player can participate in his own rescue. We need him if we are going to win games and close games out as he has shown to all of us in some of his great performances of this year.

Brown’s words echoed.

Hoping a player can participate in his own rescue?

They indicate Turner’s struggles, but also that it is on the player and coaches to help him get over the skid.

“I said it last night and I’ll say it again, you do hope that they participate in their own rescue,” Brown said. “It is a great white water instructor line. If you fall out of the boat you had better swim, and you have to help us save you.

“When it comes to Evan, you want to help him. You want to get him involved and remind him of who he is. He is a hell of a player.”

Turner is averaging 23.9 points per game in the Sixers’ 15 wins this season, supporting just how valuable he is to the club’s success.

“I love coaching Evan Turner,” Brown said. “He is extremely coachable. He is a good person. He loves basketball. He wants to please and he’s young.

“[You have to] participate in your own rescue. But I also share a significant weight and responsibility I feel, internally, to help him do well.”

Sixers-Hawks 5 things: Fighting fatigue coming off 5-game road trip

Sixers-Hawks 5 things: Fighting fatigue coming off 5-game road trip

The Sixers (28-46) return home from their five-game road trip for the second game of a back-to-back set against the Atlanta Hawks (38-36) on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Fight the fatigue
The schedule makers didn't do the Sixers any favors.

Fresh off a five-city, nine-day road trip, the Sixers received a gift from the league: yet another game. The Sixers will return home for the first time since March 19 to host the Hawks in their 16th and final back-to-back set of the season.

One bit of good news for the Sixers is that the Hawks also played last night and had to travel. They held on for a 95-91 home win over the Phoenix Suns to snap a seven-game losing skid.

2. Finish strong
Even better news for the Sixers is that they capped off their road trip with a victory. They executed down the stretch of a back-and-forth battle with the Brooklyn Nets for a 106-101 win.

Despite being limited to nine players, the Sixers got contributions from everyone. All nine scored in the game and five reached double figures. Dario Saric regrouped from a poor effort to post a team-high 23 points and seven rebounds, while Robert Covington notched a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

"They stayed together," Brett Brown said. "We got down, it was a fist fight for most of the game. We found a way to execute at the end, close it out at the end."

3. Welcome back
What a long, strange trip it's been for Ersan Ilyasova and it stops back in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

Ilyasova was acquired by the Sixers from Oklahoma City on Nov. 1 and traded to the Hawks on Feb. 22 for Tiago Splitter and a pair of draft picks. The latter transaction marked the fifth time Ilyasova was dealt during the last 20 months after he spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career all with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ilyasova proved every bit of his value as a veteran scorer during his brief stint with the Sixers. In 53 games with the team this season, he averaged 14.8 points a night on 44.0 percent shooting from the field and 35.9 percent shooting from three-point range. The 29-year-old also put up 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 27.3 minutes a contest.

More importantly, Ilyasova created a buffer that allowed Saric to ease into his rookie season in the NBA off the bench.

Ilyasova has had a smaller role for the playoff-seeking Hawks. In 24.4 minutes per game, he has averaged 10.4 points, 6.3 boards and 1.3 assists.

We'll see what Ilyasova has in store against the Sixers when the forward steps inside the Wells Fargo Center for the first time since Feb. 11.

4. Injuries
Jahlil Okafor (knee) and Gerald Henderson (hip) are game-time decisions. Sergio Rodriguez (hamstring), Joel Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Thabo Sefolosha (groin) is a game-time decision. Paul Millsap (knee) is out for the Hawks.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost the season's three previous matchups against the Hawks by an average of 22 points.

• T.J. McConnell has 39 assists and 14 steals in the last five games.

• Dennis Schroder has averaged 14.0 points, 9.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds against the Sixers this season.

Injuries at point guard forcing Sixers to get creative with ball handlers

Injuries at point guard forcing Sixers to get creative with ball handlers

NEW YORK -- The Sixers are heading toward the end of the season the same way it began: dealing with a point guard injury.

First it was Jerryd Bayless in training camp. Now it is Sergio Rodriguez. He will miss a week after suffering a strained left hamstring in Sunday's game against the Pacers.

"It's a little strain," Rodriguez said. "They say it's going to be about a week, then they'll see how it goes afterward. I feel good. It's a mess because there's no pain at all."

Rodriguez strained his hamstring during the first half Sunday. He continued to play and told the Sixers' trainer he thought he pulled it "a little bit." When he woke up on Monday morning, he felt some discomfort and wanted to have an MRI to check it out. The scan on Tuesday revealed a strain.

Rodriguez had been hitting his stride as of late. In his last two games, he was averaging 14.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.0 turnovers. Brown credited him for being a key player in the Sixers' win over the Bulls last Friday.

"It was great to have the opportunity to be playing more," Rodriguez said. "It hurts not to be able to play tonight because of this little thing."

Here's where the depth chart gets interesting: Nik Stauskas moves over from the two-spot to become the backup point guard. Stauskas has done this during the season and was comfortable in that role in Tuesday's 106-101 victory over the Nets (see game recap). He scored 11 points with four rebounds and two assists while playing a combination of point and shooting guard, but more importantly, he was a plus-10 while at the point.

"When you don't have Sergio and you're searching for other point guard options, we have tried this sporadically before with Nik," Brown said. "It was excellent. I think we all see his skill package with the ball. He's big enough to rise up behind a pick-and-roll and punish it if people go under."

Stauskas is comfortable at point guard. He works on dribbling drills after practices and before games.

"The ball is in my hands and I think that's when I'm at my best, when I'm able to make plays," Stauskas said. "When I get to play the point guard I'm excited just because I know I'm going to be in the pick-and-roll a little bit and I know I'm going to have a chance to handle it and get guys involved. I feel like the offense was running pretty smoothly when I was out there."

In the chance that both starting point guard T.J. McConnell and Stauskas are unavailable while Rodriguez is out, Brown would look to Dario Saric as the next option. Saric isn't about to become a point-forward, but if the Sixers had to go that far down the roster to find a ball handler he would get the call.

"I think if you put another four-man on Dario Saric, he's going to have no problem bringing the ball up the floor," Brown said. "Sometimes the elite defensive four-men, like Draymond Green, may make me pull some of that back. But [Saric] has guard skills. We've seen it in the open court. We've seen enough to know my comments aren't outrageous. In the situation we're in, you could connect some of those dots."

Even though he can't play, Bayless has been staying a part of the team. He injured ligaments in his left wrist in October, came back in November and appeared in just three games before reinjuring it and undergoing season-ending surgery.

Bayless has been with the Sixers on road trips, including the five-city swing they wrapped up in Brooklyn. The Sixers signed the veteran to complement Ben Simmons with his ability to play both point and shooting guard. Since both players are sidelined, they have been building chemistry during their travels.

On the court, Bayless has been working on his shot after shootarounds. He also does cardio on the treadmill to stay in shape. 

Jerryd Bayless working on his shots after shootaround. The majority went in from different spots on the court. #sixers

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"It feels good," Bayless said. "It's still rehabbing and whatnot. It's not a lot I can do with this wrist yet. It's still going through it. It'll take a little bit, probably another month until it's totally back to a hundred percent."

After missing all but three games this season, he is glad to get in reps even if it's in sweats and not a uniform.

"Being able to be back on the court, honestly, is probably the best part," Bayless said. "I missed it. I missed it. So it's good to actually be able to do things again."