Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Wrap: Pacers scuffle with Warriors in win

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NBA Wrap: Pacers scuffle with Warriors in win

The Sixers showed minimal effort in a 98-84 loss to the Magic on Tuesday and head coach Doug Collins let everyone know he wasn't pleased with the performance.

Now, let's take a look at some other action from around the league.

Pacers, Warriors scuffle
INDIANAPOLIS -- David West had 28 points and seven rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers overcome the ejection of Roy Hibbert following a fourth-quarter scuffle to beat the Golden State Warriors 108-97 on Tuesday night.

West also was called for a technical foul, along with the Warriors' David Lee, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, for the altercation that began with 6:10 remaining in the game.

George Hill had 23 points and seven assists, and Paul George had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers (36-21), who have won five straight.

Curry scored a season-high 38 points and Thompson had 13 for the Warriors (33-24), who had a three-game winning streak snapped (see full recap).

Heat outlast Kings
MIAMI -- LeBron James had 40 points and 16 assists, Dwyane Wade scored 39 and the Miami Heat pushed their winning streak to 12 games by outlasting the Sacramento Kings 141-129 in double overtime on Tuesday night.

Ray Allen added 21, Chris Bosh finished with 15 and Chris Andersen had 10 for the Heat, who remained six games clear of second-place Indiana in the Eastern Conference standings.

Miami's 12-game winning streak is the longest in the NBA and matches the second-longest in franchise history.

Marcus Thornton scored 36 points for Sacramento, the most by any reserve in the NBA this season. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds, Tyreke Evans added 26 points, John Salmons 15 and Isaiah Thomas 14 for the Kings (see full recap).

Irving-less Cavs top Bulls
CHICAGO -- Dion Waiters scored 25 points to help make up for the absence of Kyrie Irving, and the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Chicago Bulls with a 101-98 victory on Tuesday night.

While Irving rested a sore right knee in street clothes on the sideline, Waiters converted a fadeaway jumper and a layup before Tyler Zeller drove along the baseline for a layup that helped Cleveland open an 87-78 lead with 7:33 left in the game.

The Bulls were down two when they got the ball back with 37 seconds left, but Luol Deng missed a long jumper.

Shaun Livingston, starting in place of Irving, finished with 15 points as improving Cleveland held on for its third win in the last four games, bouncing back from a difficult 109-105 loss at Miami on Sunday (see full recap).

Nets hold off Hornets
NEW ORLEANS -- Deron Williams scored 33 points, Brook Lopez added 20 while playing against his twin brother, Robin, and the Brooklyn Nets snapped a two-game skid with a 101-97 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night.

Williams did not score for much of the second half, but drained a timely 3-pointer with 1:24 left, then added a fadeaway jumper, followed by six free throws in the final 18.7 seconds to seal it.

Keith Bogans added 12 points for Brooklyn, hitting all four of his shots, including three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, when New Orleans nearly erased a deficit that had been as large as 22 points in the second quarter.

Greivis Vasquez scored 20 and Robin Lopez 14 for New Orleans, which has lost four of five (see full recap).

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Sixers sign veterans Kris Humpries, Emeka Okafor

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Sixers sign veterans Kris Humpries, Emeka Okafor

Just about 24 hours before the start of the most anticipated training camp in years, the Sixers have brought two veterans into the fold.

The Sixers on Monday morning announced the signings of forward Kris Humphries and center Emeka Okafor.

Humphries, the 14th overall pick by Utah in 2004, is entering his 14th season in the league and the Sixers will be the ninth team he's played for after the Jazz, Raptors, Mavericks, Nets, Celtics, Wizards, Suns and Hawks. The University of Minnesota product and former Mr. Kim Kardashian's best season came in 2011-2012 in New Jersey when he averaged 13.8 points and 11.0 boards a night.

Okafor was the second overall pick by the then expansion Charlotte Bobcats in the same 2004 NBA draft following a studded career at the University of Connecticut that included the 2004 national championship.

While he's averaged 12.3 points per game in his NBA career, he hasn't quite lived up to the billing that comes with being the No. 2 pick. In fact, after spending 2012-13 with the Wizards, Okafor hasn't played an NBA game since. That's because Okafor suffered a severe herniated disc in his neck that has required time and patience in recovery. Now feeling comfortable enough to play again, the 6-foot-10 Okafor, who's played for the Bobcats, New Orleans Hornets and Wizards in his career, is getting his next chance with the Sixers.

Okafor's best season was his rookie year in Charlotte when he averaged 15.1 points and 10.9 points per game.

Sixers training camp opens Tuesday while the annual media day takes place on Monday.

2017 Sixers training camp: 5 storylines

2017 Sixers training camp: 5 storylines

Monday is media day, which means the start of training camp is 24 hours away. The Sixers are positioned to be a team to watch in the NBA this season, and with that comes storylines to pay attention to before it kicks off. From health to new additions to contract extensions, here are five things to look for in training camp. 

Restrictions
Minutes. Games. Back-to-backs. Those are in question when it comes to Joel Embiid. Last season the big man was limited to 31 games, did not play in back-to-backs, followed a closely-watched minutes restriction, and underwent season-ending knee surgery in March. Embiid has not been cleared for 5-on-5 yet, making his game availability to be determined during camp.

“It’s not about being ready for the first practice or the first game,” president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said regarding Embiid last week. “And he will be out there for the first practice and the first game. The question is how much, how little, if at all. Those things will be determined by certain criteria along the way.”

It also remains to be seen if Ben Simmons, who missed all of last season because of a Jones fracture, will end up being placed under restrictions as well. The Sixers have enhanced their medical staff with the addition of Dr. C. Daniel Medina Leal to the newly-created VP of athlete care position. Leal previously worked for FC Barcelona.

Embiid contract extension
The Sixers and Embiid have a very significant decision to make before the start of the regular season. The deadline for Embiid’s contract extension is Oct. 16, two days prior to opening night.

For such a serious business matter, there are so many question marks involved on both sides. How many games will Embiid play? How is his health after yet another injury last season?

If the Sixers offer the max in the extension, would they be overpaying? If Embiid accepts a percentage of the max based on these uncertainties, will he be taking less than if he waited for restricted free agency?

These questions will be answered in less than a month.

Point guard role
The Sixers plan to utilize Simmons as an unconventional 6-foot-10 point guard. Expect him to be tasked with defending power forwards on defense. This role will lend itself to more versatile lineups wherein the Sixers can be a position-less team in many cases. With Simmons at the point, Markelle Fultz will slide over to the shooting guard spot when they are paired on offense. The Sixers traded up to draft him No. 1 in part for his ability to play off the ball.

The backup point guard roles will have to be sorted out. Jerryd Bayless is returning from appearing in just three games last season because of a wrist injury. The veteran can play both guard spots in the backcourt. T.J. McConnell, who started 51 games last season, will once again find himself fighting for minutes.

Jahlil Okafor's future
The Sixers are entering another season with a logjam of centers. Jahlil Okafor still does not have a clearly defined role with Embiid as the starter and Richaun Holmes making a strong case for increased minutes as the backup.

The team remains open to trading Okafor, as they attempted to do last season, if they find the right fit. Okafor’s health will factor into the Sixers’ opportunity to make a deal. He continued to battle right knee soreness after undergoing surgery for a meniscus tear in March 2016. Okafor last played on March 22.

Looking to improve his game, Okafor has gone “mostly” vegan. He is down to 258 pounds, 20 less than his weight in last year’s training camp.

Starting 5
The Sixers had 30 starting lineups last season and will be looking for more consistency this time around. Don’t expect standard roles, either. With Simmons running the point, players will be shifted into different positions depending on matchups.

Back in July, I projected the 2017-18 starting five and that group hasn’t changed, in my opinion. I am going with Fultz, JJ Redick, Robert Covington, Simmons and Embiid. 

There are many people who reacted strongly to the idea of Covington as a starter instead of Dario Saric. Covington is key to the Sixers' defense, though, and Saric can thrive as a go-to in the second unit if he embraces that role.