Let's say the Sixers' glass is half full ...

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Let's say the Sixers' glass is half full ...

I recently had a conversation with someone who works for the Sixers. He had a lot to say. This was the short version: The team’s glass “isn’t half empty, it’s half full.” He actually used those words.

Cheery clichés generally make me recoil, but he’s a naturally positive guy so I let it go. The attendant implication was that I’m a negative guy. It hurt the black cavity where my feelings should be.

Ah well. If you can’t beat 'em, pander to 'em. (Pretty sure that’s how the old adage goes.) As the Sixers (22-29) prepare to return to the court on Wednesday, here are some (mostly) positive points. Also: rainbows and unicorns and puppies! Hooray.

Lavoy Allen: He’s averaging 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 23.3 minutes this season. All of those numbers are up from a year ago. If/when Andrew Bynum returns, Allen will likely see his court time dip and his bench time increase, but less responsibility might actually help his game. He’s been better as a reserve than he was when Doug Collins used him as a starter earlier in the year.

Kwame Brown: Oh, man. Already testing me here. OK. Staying positive. He’s 6-foot-11, 290 pounds. He has been consistently large all season. Every night, every game, he shows up and he’s big. And he convinced the Sixers to give him a contract with a player option for the second year. That’s impressive.

Andrew Bynum: After a long, long (long) wait, Bynum said he hopes to practice in the next week or two. Rinse. Repeat. Ugh. But we’re being positive, so … The Sixers are 20th in rebounds and 25th in points in the paint. Bynum would obviously help in both areas. When he’s right, he’s one of the top-three centers in the NBA. Plus, he has a sweet Pop-A-Shot game, which is important.

Spencer Hawes: Some people (not me) might point out that a 7-foot-1 center should spend less time taking mid- and long-range jumpers and more time down low. Some people (not me) might note that Hawes is a large human who is only averaging 6.4 rebounds, 50th in the NBA. Some people (not me) might even question his sometimes-suspect defense. Some people (not me) are such downers. Hawes had that sweet quasi-mullet earlier this year, and he wore an excellent headband too. What more do you want?

Jrue Holiday: Unquestionably the best player on the team. Among all NBA point guards, he’s second in minutes per game, fourth in assists and fifth in points. And he’s only 22 years old. This season marked his first All-Star game, but it won’t be his last.

Royal Ivey: His name is Royal Ivey and he’s a professional basketball player. As lives go, his is pretty good.

Jeremy Pargo: The Sixers recently signed him for the remainder of the season. In his first game with Philly, Pargo had 12 points, six assists and four rebounds. And then there’s this.

Arnett Moultrie: There were high expectations for Moultrie. The Sixers acquired him from Miami, who took him with the 27th overall pick after the former Mississippi state power forward led the SEC in rebounding. Moultrie struggled to start the season and was sent to the D-League. He could have gotten discouraged. He could have pouted. He didn’t do any of those things. To his credit, he’s done what’s been asked of him without becoming a problem in the locker room. Acting like a professional is underrated. And with Thaddeus Young out (hamstring), Moultrie had some solid outings. He put up a career-high 12 points against the Pacers, and he grabbed 21 total rebounds in three games against the Bobcats, Clippers and Bucks.

Jason Richardson: He’s out for the season (knee). But –- as the Sixers reminded everyone all year -- he’s still No. 13 on the NBA’s all-time list of most three-pointers made. Huzzah.

Evan Turner: He’s having his best season as a pro. Turner is averaging 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists over 36.2 minutes -- all career highs. By his own admission, he needs to be more consistent -- not taking those four or five random bad shots per game would be a start –- but at least he’s aware of it.

Damien Wilkins: He’s NBA royalty. Son of Gerald, nephew of Dominique. That’s good work if you can get it.

Dorell Wright: He’s starting to get more court time, and he plays better defense than some people on this list (some people who might be listed directly below). He once led the NBA in three-pointers. The guy has more skill than he’s been allowed to show so far.

Nick Young: Since getting benched, Young is suddenly playing better. Maybe all his detractors were wrong about him.

Thaddeus Young: After sitting on the bench for long stretches against the Celtics in the playoffs, Young bulked up in the offseason and dedicated himself to playing better defense and rebounding (he leads the team with 7.4 per game). He’s been excellent this year. It’s a shame he hurt his hamstring. At least the other one still works.

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

Best of NBA: Noel scores 9 points, grab 10 boards in Mavs debut

DALLAS -- Harrison Barnes scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks ended a three-game losing streak by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 96-83 on Saturday night.

The Pelicans fell to 0-2 since trading for DeMarcus Cousins and pairing him with Anthony Davis.

Davis had 39 points and 14 rebounds but scored only 12 in the second half. Cousins finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Seth Curry scored 10 of his 13 in the fourth quarter to help Dallas pull away. His 3-pointer with 4:49 to play gave the Mavericks an 84-72 lead, and the Pelicans never got closer than six after that (see full recap).

Harden leads Rockets past Timberwolves in 142-130 shootout
HOUSTON -- James Harden had 24 points and 10 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 142-130 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves as both teams set season scoring highs in a Saturday night shootout.

Houston won for the sixth time in seven games, handing the Timberwolves their first road loss in more than three weeks.

Minnesota committed a season-high 25 turnovers that led to 38 points for the Rockets.

Playing against Houston's guard-heavy rotation, Minnesota went inside all night and outscored the Rockets 68-44 in the paint. Karl-Anthony Towns had 37 points and 22 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins added 30 points (see full recap).

Bulls benefit as James sits with strep, beat Cavs 117-99
CLEVELAND -- Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler recorded a triple-double, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 117-99 victory Saturday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without LeBron James.

James missed the game with strep throat, and coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn't sure how long the Cavaliers would be without the four-time MVP. Cleveland struggled as it often does without its star - they are 4-19 without him since he returned to Cleveland in 2014, including 0-4 this season.

Chicago has won all three games against Cleveland this season. It took advantage of James' absence to win its fourth straight overall (see full recap).

George ejected, Heat stay hot with 113-95 win over Pacers
MIAMI -- Paul George had another frustrating night in Miami.

Hassan Whiteside scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Dion Waiters added 22 points and the red-hot Miami Heat pulled away late to beat the Indiana Pacers 113-95 on Saturday night. Miami outscored Indiana 42-22 in the final 16 minutes, all with George watching from the Pacers' locker room after an ejection.

"It felt like a playoff-type game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said (see full recap).

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- A 17-point game came down to the final possessions. 

The Knicks squeaked out a 110-109 victory, holding on to this one after suffering a buzzer-beating loss to the Sixers on Jan. 11. 

The Knicks squandered a double-digit lead in the fourth as the Sixers slowly chipped away at their lead at the line. The Sixers got within one, 106-105, when T.J. McConnell drained a three after a series of Sixers' free throws. 

Jahlil Okafor scored a go-ahead basket during a hustling Sixers possession with nine seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 109-108 lead. 

In the end, it was Carmelo Anthony, who had been running up the scoreboard all night (37 points), that nailed the game-winning jumper over Robert Covington. Kyle O'Quinn picked off the Sixers' final inbound attempt. 

Inside the box score
• Okafor finished with a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. He had eight rebounds in first half, including a coast-to-coast fast break.

• Dario Saric continues his strong Rookie of the Year push. He finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. 

• Robert Covington struggled from the field overall (7 of 19, 2 of 11 from three) but filled up the stat sheet with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

• Anthony did what Anthony does. He scored 37 points on 15 of 25 from the field, including the game-winner.

Anderson debuts
Justin Anderson made his Sixers debut in the first quarter. Anderson is a multi-positional player and the lineup reflected that. He first played with Rodriguez, Stauskas, Covington and Holmes. Anderson played 3:47 and went 0 for 1 from three with a rebound and a foul. 

While Anderson said he had learned about the Sixers by watching his first game from the bench, he will get more on-the-court experience on Sunday when he plans to spend time at the training complex on the team's off day. 

Bigs Convene
Joel Embiid was with the Sixers in New York. After the second quarter ended, he stayed on the court to talk with Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah. Both Knicks big men also were sidelined on Saturday.

Trust It
T.J. McConnell isn’t the only one to #trustthefriendship with Saric. Check out this no-look pass to Robert Covington. 

Up next
The Sixers have a day to bounce back from this loss. The 48-9 Warriors come to town on Monday.