Philadelphia 76ers

Instant Replay: Sixers 123, Rockets 117

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Instant Replay: Sixers 123, Rockets 117

BOX SCORE

The Sixers got a huge game from James Anderson and were able to rally for a 123-117 win over the Houston Rockets in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night.

The victory improved the Sixers to 5-4 on the season.

Anderson scored a career-high 36 points and hit the game-tying three-pointer with 6.6 seconds left in regulation to force OT.

Tony Wroten was strong for the Sixers, posting his first career triple-double.

Michael Carter-Williams missed his first game of the season with a bruised left foot, while Houston guard James Harden also sat out with a left foot injury.

Turning point
Spencer Hawes had a put-back slam over Dwight Howard with 34.9 seconds to play in OT to give the Sixers a 115-114 lead. They never trailed again after that bucket.

Hawes finished the game with 18 points and nine rebounds. The center also nailed 3 of 5 attempts from long range.

Follow the leader
Jeremy Lin followed up his 31-point performance on Monday by scoring 34 against the Sixers. Lin was an amazing from distance, making a Well Fargo Center-record nine threes. He also added 12 assists.

Howard had a double-double with 23 points and 15 rebounds to go with his six assists and six blocked shots.

Anderson stole the show in this one. He connected on 12 of 16 shots from the floor, including 6 of 8 from beyond the arc. Anderson’s previous career high was 19 points before scoring 36 against the Rockets.

Evan Turner scored 23 points in the win, with eight coming in the extra session.

Stat-egic
The Rockets’ break-neck pace has them as the fifth-highest scoring team in the NBA at 106.1 points per game. Yet, the Sixers were the team who scored more on the fast break. The Sixers had 24 fast-break points to the Rockets’ seven.

Take a bow
Wroten seized the moment in his first NBA start. Filling in for the injured MCW, Wroten had 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

Wroten became the fifth player in the NBA this season to record a triple-double.

What’s next?
The Sixers travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks on Friday night.

The Hawks were 4-3 heading into Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks.

Former Sixer Kyle Korver entered that matchup second all-time in consecutive games with a at least one three-pointer at 80.

Former Sixer Dana Barros has the all-time mark with 89 straight games, part of which was set when he was wearing a Sixers uniform. Barros’ streak started Dec. 23, 1994 and ended the following season when he played for the Celtics on Jan. 12, 1996.

Ben Simmons on being forgotten in rookie poll: 'They'll remember'

Ben Simmons on being forgotten in rookie poll: 'They'll remember'

CAMDEN, N.J. — If Ben Simmons made one thing clear Monday, it's that he's ready to play.

The Jones fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot that cost him his 2016-17 season has healed. He's been playing 5-on-5 and "dominating the gym." He has no restrictions heading into the first day of camp Tuesday.

And he's eager.

"I'm ready to go," Simmons said during Sixers media day. "100 percent. Cleared to play."

Simmons' answers were matter-of-fact and the 21-year-old's confidence was evident. 

Simmons came into the league with plenty of hype — and the skill to back that swagger. He was the No. 1 overall pick after just one season at LSU. Then the injury to his foot brought the hype train to a screeching halt and would eventually keep Simmons sidelined for the entire season. 

But the year off the court wasn't a total waste. Simmons said the time away allowed him to look in the mirror and mature.

"I just had to grow," Simmons said. "That took time. Different experiences. Obviously breaking my foot I had a lot of time to myself to grow as a person and just really looked at who I wanted to be as a player and a person. I had a lot of time off, so I think I've grown on and off the floor."

One of the things Simmons said he thought long and hard about was becoming a leader. Though Simmons is the third-youngest player on the roster, he's ready to accept that challenge. 

Becoming a leader will certainly help Simmons as he transitions to playing the point guard position. The 6-foot-10 Australian has been playing forward his whole life. Now, head coach Brett Brown has put the ball in his hands.

How does it feel to run the offense?

"It feels normal to me," Simmonds said. "[Brown is] the first coach to finally give me the opportunity. He obviously sees something in me. I believe in myself and I believe I can do it. There's not many people that can guard me off the dribble the full length of the court. It's going to be a mismatch problem a lot of the time."

There goes that confidence again.

It took Simmons a season away to get to this point though. He said he's a much better player than he was at this time last year and "it's not even close." 

Not everyone is convinced of Simmons' success, however. In a recent NBA.com poll of NBA rookies, Simmons barely received any votes for things like "Who will be the Rookie of the Year?" and "Which rookie will have the best career?" In fact, this year's No. 1 pick, Markelle Fultz, was thought of more highly than Simmons.

Maybe some of the rookies forgot about Simmons since he missed all of last season.

"I think that happens," Simmons said when asked about being out of the spotlight. "From social media — the hype or whatever it is. But if you would've said this a year ago you guys would've been putting me at the top of the list. I had a whole year to get better. But I'm fine with that. 

"When I came to the States I was 15 and nobody knew who I was so I feel like I'm kind of back in that stage. I have to prove myself again, which is fine. I'm looking forward to that part."

When pressed on the question of being "forgotten" by other NBA rookies, Simmons' answered confidently:

"They'll remember."

Sixers have questions with possible extensions looming for Embiid, Covington

Sixers have questions with possible extensions looming for Embiid, Covington

CAMDEN, N.J. — The front offices of professional sports teams are always dealing with a delicate balance of competing in the present and positioning for a successful future.

The Sixers are no different.

As the team officially tips off training camp on Tuesday for what it hopes to be its most successful season in years, there are still some serious question marks about the future of the roster.

The biggest one surrounds center Joel Embiid. Embiid is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. Embiid and the Sixers have until Oct. 16 to reach an agreement on a rookie scale extension. If the two sides can’t strike a deal, the big man will become a restricted free agent next summer.

Embiid, who is currently still rehabbing from surgery for a torn meniscus, finally burst onto the scene last season by averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. However, he knows that by being limited to just 31 games during his career and with the team holding all the cards regarding his immediate future, he isn’t in a position of power during any contract negotiations.

“At the end of the day, I don’t have the leverage. I’m going into my fourth season and I’m going to be a restricted free agent, so there’s no leverage, they can do whatever they want. There’s been discussions about it. Hopefully, something does work out” (see story).

Embiid isn’t alone. Robert Covington, also coming off both a breakout season and meniscus surgery, is in a similar situation.

The Sixers picked up the fourth-year, $1.57 million option on Covington’s contract in June. That’s a steal considering Covington finished fourth in the NBA in Defensive Player of the Year voting while scoring 12.9 points a night.

Now the Sixers have a date of Nov. 15, the three-year anniversary of when they originally signed Covington, to signal when they can rework a new deal for the swingman.

“We’ve definitely been in talks and everything,” said Covington, who reportedly switched agents to the powerful CAA Sports in the offseason. “Both sides are very open to what is going on. It’s just a matter of the right move that’s to be made. Bryan is playing chess right now with the pieces that he’s adding. Now it’s just making sure that everything stays the way that he pictures.”

Then there’s the curious case of Jahlil Okafor. In just two seasons with the team, the center has witnessed his name in just about every trade rumor imaginable. Okafor, who recorded 11.8 points and 4.8 boards a game in a reserve role a season ago, was apparently so close to being dealt at last February’s deadline that he was held out of two games only to rejoin the Sixers.

Team president Bryan Colangelo would never rule anything out in regards to shipping Okafor, but at the moment all plans are for the big man to remain a Sixer.

“There’s no problem between us and Jahlil right now,” Colangelo said. “If he had his druthers would he be with another club? I can’t answer that question, but I think that he’s happy being here. He’s been treated well. The coaches coach him like they coach every other athlete. 

“Again, any discussion about things that are out there — whether or not he’s been traded or not, whether or not he’s being shopped or not — I can say I have not actively been shopping Jahlil Okafor. … But the narrative is he’s here, he’s going to be an active participant in the things that we’re doing preparing for this season and he’s a part of this basketball team until he’s not.”

While things are a very murky with Okafor, the writing appears to be on the wall for Nik Stauskas as he enters the fourth year of his rookie deal. 

The team specifically targeted scoring from the off-guard position over the summer (drafting Markelle Fultz to play alongside Ben Simmons in the backcourt, signing JJ Redick in free agency and bringing Furkan Korkmaz from overseas). With Justin Anderson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot also expected to vie for time at shooting guard, Stauskas’ future in Philadelphia doesn’t exactly seem bright.

“Not at all, no,” Stauskas sternly responded when asked whether his contract status was on his mind heading into the new season.