NBA Wrap: Nets top Knicks, split series

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NBA Wrap: Nets top Knicks, split series

The Sixers led by seven with four minutes to play, but scored just three points in the final 5:40 to lose, 90-85, to the Spurs on Monday night (see story).

Also, Andrew Bynum took part in Sixers shootaround for the first time this season on Monday and said he's no longer feeling pain in his knees (see story).

Here's a quick recap of Monday's NBA action:

Nets beat Knicks to split series
NEW YORK -- Joe Johnson made the go-ahead jumper with 22 seconds left and scored 25 points, leading the Brooklyn Nets to an 88-85 over the New York Knicks on Monday and a split of the four-game series between the city rivals.

Deron Williams added 14 points and 12 assists for the Nets, who cut the Knicks' Atlantic Division lead to one game. Brook Lopez had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Kris Humphries came off the bench for 11 points and 13 boards.

Carmelo Anthony had 29 points and seven assists for the Knicks, but missed all six shots in the fourth quarter and finished 11 of 29 for the game. J.R. Smith scored 16 points and Amare Stoudemire 15 (see full recap).

Bulls top struggling Lakers
CHICAGO -- Kirk Hinrich scored 22 points, Marco Belinelli added 15 points, and the Chicago Bulls pulled away down the stretch to beat the struggling Los Angeles Lakers 95-83 on Monday night.

Belinelli came up big in the closing minutes, scoring eight points during an 18-4 run that broke a 75-75 tie and sent the Lakers to their ninth loss in 11 games.

He started it by hitting two free throws after getting fouled by Dwight Howard with 6:54 left in the game and wrapped two 3-pointers around a layup by Los Angeles' Earl Clark, making it 89-79 with 2:27 remaining.

The Lakers have now dropped six straight on the road, and this one came after coach Mike D'Antoni shook up the lineup. He moved forward Pau Gasol to a reserve role and replaced him with Clark, but the slide continued on a night when Kobe Bryant and Howard were mostly nonfactors (see full recap).

Curry lifts Warriors past Clippers
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jarrett Jack had 18 points and 10 assists, Stephen Curry made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and Golden State rallied from seven points down in the final 11 minutes to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 106-99 on Monday.

Curry finished with 28 points, Klay Thompson added 18 and David Lee had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors, who have beaten the Pacific Division-leading Clippers three out of the four games between the two teams this season.

There were five lead changes in the fourth quarter, but Los Angeles managed only two baskets over the final 3:40 while Golden State closed on a 14-4 run.

Blake Griffin had 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers. Jamal Crawford added 24 points off the bench (see full recap).

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Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."