Sixers-Raptors: What you need to know

722698.jpg

Sixers-Raptors: What you need to know

Sixers vs. Raptors, 7 p.m. CSN

Line
Sixers 8 over Raptors

Last meeting
In another quirk of the condensed, NBA schedule, the Sixers havent faced their division rival since Jan. 7, the seventh game of the season, yet will play them twice in a week. In that Jan. 7 game the Sixers ripped Toronto 97-62, holding it to 31.8 percent shooting from the floor, including 1 for 12 from beyond the three-point arc. Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the team allowed the fewest points in a game since beating Portland 88-60 on March 6, 2003.

Records
Sixers: 29-24 (Second place in the Atlantic Division; seventh place in Eastern Conference).
Raptors: 19-36 (Fourth place in the Atlantic Division; 11th place in the Eastern Conference).

Previous Games
Its been a topsy-turvy last few games for the Sixers. After stumbling in Washington for the ugliest loss of the season, the Sixers bounced back for an impressive 95-90 victory over Atlanta. But in Tuesday nights game in Miami, the Sixers could not stop LeBron James without Andre Iguodala.

With Iguodala in the locker room after being poked in the eye, James scored 15 of his season-high 41 points in the fourth quarter to give the Heat their 11th straight regular-season victory over the Sixers.

The Raptors arrive in Philadelphia riding a two-game winning streak with three victories in the last four games. Tuesday night the Raptors held off the Bobcats for a 92-87 win. Andrea Bargnani scored 30 points on 11-for-22 shooting, while DeMar DeRozen added 20 points on 16 shots.

Whos hot
Evan Turner poured in a career-high 26 points on 12-for-19 shooting in the loss to the Heat, and has scored in double figures in five straight games. Turner also played 39-plus minutes, which is the third-most court time hes logged this season.

Additionally, Lou Williams bounced back from a shaky game against Atlanta for 18 points in 30 minutes off the bench.

For the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani has averaged 25.3 points over the last four games, including a 30-point effort on Tuesday night against the Bobcats and a 27-point game on 10-for-17 shooting against the Heat last week. Meanwhile, guard Jose Calderon has benefited from the uptick in Bargnanis hot streak. Over the past seven games, Calderon has notched 76 assists and has at least 10 assists in six of the last seven games.

Story lines
The story is simple for the Sixers ... pile up the wins. With 13 games to go the Sixers trail the Celtics by 1 games in the Atlantic Division with a big matchup looming on Easter Sunday. What the Sixers have going for them against Boston is they hold the tiebreaker and a tie in the standings gives Philly the advantage. However, nine of the Sixers final 13 are on the road, including the final five of the regular-season.

What you see now is pretty interesting. Coming down the stretch you have a lot of teams Toronto beat Denver, New Jersey beat Indiana you see those teams and a lot of them are playing with the house money right now, Collins said after Thursdays practice at the PCOM. Sometimes theyre the hardest teams to beat because they dont have that same kind of game pressure.

Injuries
Andre Iguodala (eye) played 26 minutes and missed the fourth quarter after being poked in the left eye Tuesday night in Miami.

Jerryd Bayless (torn oblique) is out for the season.

E-mail John Finger at jfinger@comcastsportsnet.com

NBA draft profile: F Brandon Ingram

052616-ben-simmons.jpg

NBA draft profile: F Brandon Ingram

Brandon Ingram

Position: Forward

Height: 6-9

Weight: 196

School: Duke

For months, Ben Simmons seemed to be a lock for the No. 1 pick. There was little competition for the LSU forward, who had been highly touted for years. Then came Brandon Ingram. The long, lanky forward emerged during his freshman (and only) season at Duke to make the top selection a legitimate two-player debate.

Ingram averaged 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 34.6 minutes per game. He scored 20 points or more in each of the fourth-ranked Blue Devils’ tournament games before they were eliminated in the Sweet 16.

Here’s the biggest intrigue with Ingram: He’s only 18 years old. After coming on this strong as a freshman, his potential is one of his largest draws.

The Sixers met with Ingram at the draft combine and have attended a private workout held by his agency.

Strengths
Ingram set himself apart with his ability to shoot. He made 41.0 percent from three (80 of 195), an impressive mark for a player his size. Ingram also shot 44.2 percent from the field. He doesn’t rely on his outside game, attacking the basket as well to create a versatile offensive package.

Ingram’s length allows him to get his hands on the ball all over the court. With a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Ingram can fight over opponents for rebounds and loose balls. On the defensive end, his size creates mismatches, including on the perimeter. As bigs expand their shots away from the basket, Ingram can chase his opponents out to the wing. 

His 2.0 assists per game don’t tell the whole story of his passing abilities. Ingram has a high basketball IQ and sees the floor to create for his teammates.

Weaknesses
Ingram has to develop an NBA body. Playing his position at less than 200 pounds, he will get bounced around by other bigs. By putting on muscle, he will be able to play tougher defense at the basket.

Ingram can improve his all-around defensive skillset. He has shown he can rebound, but his overall consistency and intensity stands to be amped up in the pros.

Ingram can also improve his free throws after shooting 68.2 percent from the line at Duke.

How he'd fit with the Sixers
The Sixers don’t have a consistent go-to scoring option. Ingram could fulfill that role as the top offensive weapon. Being only 18, he would be part of the Sixers’ young foundation they could develop over time. His athleticism would help facilitate an uptempo system that maximizes their youth to get up and down the court. Brett Brown emphasizes his desire for two-way players and Ingram could contribute on both ends.

NBA comparison
Ingram has been compared to Kevin Durant. Think long and lanky for the position with the offensive skills to be a scoring threat. Ingram also has been likened to Tayshaun Prince, who had a decent NBA career but wasn't an MVP candidate like Durant.

Draft projection
Ingram is in the mix for being the No. 1 pick. If the Sixers go with Simmons at the top spot, expect the Lakers to take Ingram at two.

Report: Rockets to hire Sixers associate coach Mike D'Antoni

052416-ingram-slide.jpg

Report: Rockets to hire Sixers associate coach Mike D'Antoni

The Sixers are losing a top assistant coach just five months after he joined the team. 

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo's The Vertical, the Houston Rockets are finalizing a deal to hire Mike D'Antoni as their head coach. According to Wojnarowski, the deal is for four years, with a team option in the final year.  

D'Antoni had been a Sixers associate coach since last December, when the team hired him after starting the season with a 1-26 record. 

While he took a supporting role in Philadelphia, D'Antoni has 12 years of NBA head coaching experience with the Nuggets, Suns (where he worked with Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo and special advisor Jerry Colangelo) and, most recently, the Lakers. The 2013-14 Lakers went 27-55 under D'Antoni. 

D’Antoni is 455-426 as a head coach. He won the 2004-05 NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Suns. He also was an assistant coach for gold-winning Team USA men’s national teams.

Rockets interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff withdrew himself from consideration for the job earlier this month, and D’Antoni has been considered a top candidate for the position. The Rockets have had four coaches in the past 10 seasons, including Jeff Van Gundy, Rick Adelman, Kevin McHale and Bickerstaff.

The Rockets finished eighth in the Western Conference this season with a 41-41 record. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Warriors, 4-1. 

Earlier in the week, Wojnarowski reported P.J. Carlesimo could take D'Antoni's place. 

Carlesimo, 66, and Sixers head coach Brett Brown were both assistant coaches under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs from 2002-07. Carlesimo also has previous head coaching experience with the Blazers, Warriors and Sonics/Thunder. 

CSNPhilly.com's Dave Zangaro contributed to this story.

Markieff Morris detained at Philadelphia International Airport

us-morris.png
USA Today Images

Markieff Morris detained at Philadelphia International Airport

Former Prep Charter and current Washington Wizards star Markieff Morris was detained at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday, according to law enforcement officials.

Morris, who was with a party that included his mother, checked a bag for an international trip when “a suspicious item” was found in his suitcase, according to law enforcement.

A secondary search of his bag revealed what law enforcement officials called “suspected marijuana.” Terminal A at Philadelphia International is overseen by Tinicum Township Police in Delaware County, not by the Philadelphia Police Department. Philadelphia airport security notified Tinicum Township Police. Morris was then taken to the Tinicum Township Police precinct for questioning. He was later released on his own recognizance.

A Tinicum Township police spokesman said the investigation is ongoing.

Morris, a Philadelphia native, is in his first full season with the Wizards, who acquired him from the Phoenix Suns in February. The Suns drafted him out of Kansas with the 13th overall pick in 2011. Morris' twin brother Marcus was drafted one pick later by the Houston Rockets before being dealt to Phoenix, where played with his brother for a little more than two seasons. Marcus now plays for the Detroit Pistons.