NBA Wrap: Knicks overcome Curry's 54 points

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NBA Wrap: Knicks overcome Curry's 54 points

The Sixers were off on Wednesday after Doug Collins' postgame rant created more questions for the slumping team (see story).

Collins' criticism may not even be enough to spark the flawed Sixers at this point in the season (see story).

Knicks' overcome Curry's 54 points
NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points, J.R. Smith hit the tiebreaking shot with 1:10 left, and the New York Knicks overcame Stephen Curry's NBA season-high 54 points to beat the Golden State Warriors 109-105 on Wednesday night.

Curry was 18 of 28 from the field, finishing one shy of the NBA record with 11 3-pointers, in a performance that had the crowd hanging on his every shot. But the Knicks finally stopped him with 1:28 to play when Raymond Felton blocked his shot with the score tied at 105.

That led to a jumper by Smith, who finished with 26 points. Anthony followed with another basket and the Knicks hung on to spoil former Knicks star and Warriors coach Mark Jackson's homecoming (see story).

-The Associated Press

Ellis gives Bucks win at buzzer
HOUSTON -- Monta Ellis sank an off-balance 3-pointer just before the final buzzer to give the Milwaukee Bucks a 110-107 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

Ellis scored 27 points and handed out 13 assists, Eryan Ilyasova added 20 points and the Bucks won in Houston for the second straight season.

The Bucks went down to the wire again after beating Dallas 95-90 on Tuesday and losing their previous three games by no more than three points. Ellis took a pass from Brandon Jennings and heaved a shot off one foot as time was winding down. The referees watched a replay and ruled that Ellis shot it in time.

James Harden scored 25 and Omer Asik grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds for Houston (see story).

-The Associated Press

Suns end Spurs' home streak
SAN ANTONIO -- Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points and 13 rebounds and the Phoenix Suns beat San Antonio 105-101 in overtime Wednesday night to snap the Spurs' 18-game home winning streak.

Luis Scola added 15 points and Goran Dragic had 13 points and 13 assists for Phoenix, which snapped a six-game losing streak against San Antonio.

Tony Parker had 22 points to lead the Spurs, who had not lost at home since Dec. 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tim Duncan had 19 points and 11 rebounds and DeJuan Blair and Kawhi Leonard added 15 points apiece.

San Antonio went 0 for 10 in overtime, its only points in the extra period coming when Parker made 1 of 2 free throws (see story).

-The Associated Press

Thunder crush Hornets
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant recorded his third career triple-double and the Oklahoma City Thunder finished a perfect three-game homestand by routing the short-handed New Orleans Hornets 119-74 on Wednesday night.

Durant had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as Oklahoma City finished a dominant four-game sweep of the season series against New Orleans, which was without starters Anthony Davis (shoulder) and Eric Gordon (knee). The Thunder led by at least 29 in three of the four meetings this season,

With the Thunder firmly in control, Durant made a clear bid for the triple-double. He got the assist on five straight Thunder baskets in the third quarter, grinning widely at the bench after his ninth assist. He and the rest of the starters exited soon after.

Ryan Anderson started in place of Davis and led New Orleans with 14 points (see story).

- The Associated Press

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NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

With the NBA's glorified exhibition in the rearview mirror, we reenter reality of the remaining NBA season. The Sixers still are looking for suitors for Jahlil Okafor while questions swirl around about the health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. 

Some claim they are tanking still, and if those people are talking about the recent NBA power rankings then they would be right. 

Games before the All-Star break
Last Monday and Wednesday the Sixers split their two games before the break, beating the Hornets and losing to the Celtics. 

Dario Saric continues to be the Sixers' most productive player in the absence of Embiid. In the short week, he averaged 19 points (a team leader in that category both games) and 11 rebounds. 

T.J. McConnell continues to control the floor at the point, dishing out seven assists against the Hornets and eight against the Celtics. 

An inability to finish has been the story for the Sixers without Embiid. The Sixers led by one at the half against the Hornets and were tied with the Celtics at the midway point. These are good signs, but these guys are far from being contenders in the east. The experts agree. 

What's next
Only two games this week for the 76ers: Friday at home against the Wizards (7 p.m./CSN) and on the road on Sunday to play the Knicks (7:30 p.m./CSN).

What the experts say
ESPN’s Marc Stein had some fun with his rankings this week using tweets and memes to describe a team’s current situation. The Sixers dropped from 20 to 23 in his rankings — not a significant drop but a drop nonetheless. 

He used this one in his evaluation of the Sixers:

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann bumped the Sixers up from 22 to 21 this week. He sees great improvement in Saric’s game stating: “Saric has already shown a lot of improvement and TLC, with his length on the perimeter, could prove to be a great fit next to the other core pieces if he can knock down shots.”

He added a positive thought on the Demarcus Cousins trade and how the Sixers still made out well even though they were not able to ship Okafor to the Pelicans. 

“The Sixers lost a potential trading partner with the DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans, but still came out a winner in the deal, because they can swap first round picks with the Kings this year and own Sacramento's pick (with no protections) in 2019.”

Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes did not move the 76ers from the 21 spot on his list last week. He writes that he is intrigued with this processing team: “Sorry, but I'm never going to stop being delighted by the Sixers finding ways to win.”

He made his prediction for games won by the Sixers if they get Embiid back on the court: “It's hard to know what Simmons might bring, but Embiid's contributions are well understood. If he makes it back and looks healthy, Philly could easily win 30-plus games.”

Finally, Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch dropped the Sixers from 27 to 28 – yikes! His outlook is very pessimistic as he looks exclusively at the injuries of Embiid and Simmons. He writes that a complete shutdown of Simmons would make sense as the season’s end gets closer by the day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give and Go: Do Joel Embiid's injuries limit his ceiling?

Give and Go: Do Joel Embiid's injuries limit his ceiling?

With the team at the All-Star break, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we describe Joel Embiid's rookie season.

Haughton
There are so many different ways to go when describing Joel Embiid's long-awaited rookie season.

The numbers say dominant. Embiid leads all rookies in points (20.2), rebounds (7.8) and blocks (2.4) per game. He's also second in field goal percentage (46.6) among first-year players.

Of course, the injury situation — and handling of it by the team — has made Embiid's first season a bit frustrating. After waiting two seasons for the center to overcome foot injuries, you can understand the team's cautious approach. However, the almost random playing patterns at times and the near radio silence on his medical status has left a bad taste.

Still, overall I would say Embiid's rookie campaign has been refreshing for the franchise. Following three straight seasons of absolute abysmal basketball, the Sixers finally appear to have a real building block. 

Not only that, but Embiid also gives them a charismatic personality that is filling up the Wells Fargo Center again and being recognized on a national stage. You can't ask for much more after what the organization endured in recent years.

Hudrick
Describing Embiid's season depends on which perspective you're looking at it from. 

When he's been on the court, it's been unbelievable. He's a 22-year-old Cameroonian who's only been playing the game of basketball for a few years. He also didn't play for two years after two foot surgeries. Even with all that, he's been the most exciting basketball player this city has seen since Allen Iverson.

From a statistical standpoint, his numbers align with some of the greatest rookie big men of all time. While mentioning Embiid and Hakeem Olajuwon in the same breath may be premature, it's an indication of just how spectacular he has been. Their rookie seasons actually compare favorably.

Of course, the injuries are concerning. Will he ever be a full-time player? Embiid recently expressed his interest in playing back-to-back games. The organization won't give him the opportunity this year and I'm not sure how many opportunities they'll give him in the future. 

With that said, Embiid can still make an impact in 60-something games a season. When he's on the court, he can be one of the most dominant players in the league. When healthy, Embiid is the most exciting athlete in Philadelphia.