Instant Replay: Spurs 90, Sixers 85


Instant Replay: Spurs 90, Sixers 85


The Sixers had scored the first 20 of 24 points in the fourth quarter and led the San Antonio Spurs by seven with less than four minutes remaining.

They just couldn't close.

Doug Collins' club scored just three points in the final 5:40 to lose to the Spurs, 90-85, forfeiting an opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 30 and falling to 17-24 overall.

San Antonio led 49-35 at the half, shooting 50 percent from the floor and holding the Sixers to 35 percent. But the Sixers rallied and attacked in the third quarter with the same defensive tenacity that got them back into last Fridays game against the Raptors. That rally extended into the fourth quarter before it was stopped -- quickly and decisively.

Turning point
The Sixers took their first lead of the night, 75-73, with 8:56 remaining in the game on a Spencer Hawes jumper from the left corner of the foul line. The lead would grow to seven at 82-75 with 5:40 on the clock, with the Sixers on an 20-4 run to start the fourth.

But the Spurs answered with nine straight points and a 15-3 run of their own over the final 3:47. They held the Sixers to just one field goal in the final 5:40.

Follow the leader
Tim Duncan scored 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. Tony Parker scored 20 points and handed out eight assists.

Evan Turner had his highest scoring output since he poured in 22 points in a win over the Lakers earlier this month. Against the Spurs, Turner scored 18 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out seven assists.

Jrue Holiday had 15 points and eight assists. Thaddeus Young added 14, while Spencer Hawes and Nick Young were great off the bench, scoring 16 and 12, respectively.

The Sixers had nine turnovers through three quarters before turning the ball over seven times in the fourth.

Take a bow
During the first timeout of the game, the Sixers ran a video on the big screen featuring the many great highlights of Charles Barkleys eight years with the team. For his career, Barkley averaged 22 points and nearly 12 rebounds over 16 NBA seasons. His career field-goal percentage (54) ranks 20th best all-time in the NBA.

The Hall of Famer was at the Wells Fargo Center as an analyst calling the game for TNT with Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller. The fans gave Barkley a standing ovation at the conclusion of the video.

Whats next
The Sixers will play at Milwaukee Tuesday night, marking the 12th time they've played back-to-back games this season. On the second night of those back-to-backs, the Sixers are 2-9 and have lost their last five in a row.

Monta Ellis is leading the Bucks in scoring with 19 points a night, but he is shooting just 40 percent on the season and just 24 percent from behind the arc. Brandon Jennings is averaging 18.6 points and 5.8 assists.

The Bucks are 21-18 overall, and 5-2 under interim head coach Jim Boylan.

E-mail Dei Lynam at

Point guard Joel Embiid? Sixers' big man works on leading break

Point guard Joel Embiid? Sixers' big man works on leading break

CAMDEN, N.J. — Toward the end of Sixers practice Monday, Joel Embiid participated in a fast-break drill … by himself.

Embiid brought the ball up the floor in a one-on-none situation against members of the Sixers' coaching staff. 

He's already showed off his three-point shooting skills and now he’s running the break? 

“I’ve always thought I was a point guard,” Embiid joked. “So that’s something that I want to do.”

In all seriousness, Embiid worked on his ball-handling skills during his two-year rehab from foot injuries. It’s not that he wants to become an unconventional point guard, it’s that he is striving to be an all-around threat. Embiid focused on recording his first assist, as an example, during the preseason. 

“I think I’m a complete player,” he said. “I think I can do everything on the court. Doing that shows I think it can help my team, too, in other aspects.” 

With running the break comes attacking the basket in traffic. It could be an anxious moment for a coach to watch a player fresh off two years of foot injuries to drive in a crowd. Sixers head coach Brett Brown said he has to be past the feeling of holding his breath whenever he watches Embiid do so. 

“We are so responsible with how we use him and play him,” Brown said. “It’s like us with children. They go out for the night. You’re nervous, but they go out for the night. He plays basketball for a living, and so he plays. We’ve just got to keep putting him in responsible environments and monitoring his minutes.”

As a point guard, T.J. McConnell appreciates Embiid’s skills, especially given his size. 

“To the people that try to pick him up when he brings the ball up the floor, good luck,” McConnell said. “It’s pretty incredible to see.” 

Robert Covington watched Embiid practice his ball handling during his lengthy recovery. He has seen improvements and likes the dynamic it creates for the team on the break. 

“His handle is really tight and then he’s really strong with it as well,” Covington said. “We’re very comfortable with him pushing the ball.”

That being said, Brown isn’t about to anoint Embiid into a point-center role. He knows Embiid’s desire to be active all over the court, but just as he’s said he doesn’t intend for Embiid to become a go-to three-point shooter, he also wants Embiid to focus on his true position. 

“Joel likes to be a player,” Brown said. “He wants to be a guard. He wants to shoot a three. He wants to be a post player. He wants to play. And we all have seen enough to think he actually can. 

“There are times that he rebounds and leads a break, we want him being aware of get off it, get it to a point guard more than not. I don’t mind him coming down in trail if he’s got daylight, him shooting some. He’s got a wonderful touch and I’ve seen it for two years. 

“... All over the place, I want to grow him. I’m not just going to bucket him up. I still say, like I say to him, 'At the end of the day, you’re a seven-foot-two post player. Post player.'”

Watch Embiid running the floor here:

Sixers cut Brandon Paul, Dionte Christmas, 3 others to set 15-man roster

Sixers cut Brandon Paul, Dionte Christmas, 3 others to set 15-man roster

In a preseason full of unexpected turns, the Sixers' final cuts were as anticipated.

The Sixers on Monday waived guards Cat Barber, Dionte Christmas, Brandon Paul and forwards Shawn Long and James Webb III to trim their regular-season roster to 15. 

Long, Paul and Webb had been with the Sixers since summer league. Barber signed with the team for training camp. Philadelphia native Christmas was the newest addition. He joined the Sixers the day of the deadline (see story)

The Sixers own the D-League rights to Barber, Christmas, Long and Webb. They are expected to land with the affiliate Delaware 87ers. 

Paul’s D-League rights are owned by the Cavaliers. He has received interest from other NBA teams, according to a source, and has not discussed playing in the Development League. 

Long appeared in each of the Sixers' preseason games. He averaged 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds. Webb posted 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in six games. 

Paul averaged 7.3 points (36.4 percent from three) and 2.3 rebounds in four games. Barber was sidelined during the preseason by a right hand/wrist injury. He played two games, averaging 5.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. 

Christmas, 30, had planned to play this season in Greece and decided on Sunday to sign with the Sixers instead of returning overseas. 

The Sixers waived 17-year veteran Elton Brand last weekend after he announced his intention to retire. 

Here's the Sixers' complete roster:

2016-17 Sixers
Robert Covington, SF, 6-9/215
Joel Embiid, C, 7-2/250
Jerami Grant, F, 6-8/210
Gerald Henderson, G, 6-5/215
Richaun Holmes, F, 6-10/245
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, G/F, 6-6/205
T.J. McConnell, PG, 6-2/200
Jahlil Okafor, C, 6-11/275
Sergio Rodriguez, PG, 6-3/176
Dario Saric, F, 6-10/223
Nik Stauskas, G, 6-6/205
Hollis Thompson, G/F, 6-8/206

Inactive list
Jerryd Bayless, PG, 6-3/200
Nerlens Noel, PF/C, 6-11/228
Ben Simmons, F, 6-10/240