<p>Sixers vs. Spurs 7:00 p.m., TNT Wells Fargo Center Records Sixers: 17-23 (4th in Atlantic Division, 9th in Eastern Conference) Spurs: 32-11 (1st in Southwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference) The Sixers hope to string together consecutive wins for the first time since late November when they host the Spurs tonight at the Wells Fargo Center. Could Friday night's dramatic win over the Raptors serve as a turning point in the Sixers' season? That remains to be seen. But a victory over San Antonio tonight could certainly further boost the team's confidence and keep it headed in the right direction. Tonight's contest marks the midway point of the Sixers' season and the first of two back-to-back games, as they play at Milwaukee Tuesday night before hosting the Knicks on Saturday. Last meeting These two teams met Jan. 5 in San Antonio, with the Spurs winning handily, 108-86, to give the Sixers their third consecutive loss at the time. San Antonio, which outscored Philadelphia in each quarter that night at the AT&T Center, shot 48.2 percent for the game. Tony Parker led six Spurs in double-figures with 20 points, while Spencer Hawes scored a game-high 22 for the Sixers. A Spurs' win tonight would mark their second consecutive season sweep over the Sixers. Who's hot Jrue Holiday is averaging a stellar 30.7 points and 11.3 assists over the last three games and scored a career-high 33 points with 14 assists in the Sixers' come-from-behind overtime win over the Raptors on Friday night. He's averaging 19.4 points, nine assists and 4.2 rebounds for the season. Thaddeus Young is also coming off a great game, as he scored 27 points and brought down 14 rebounds against the Raptors, his sixth double-double over a 14-game stretch. Parker is averaging 21.7 points and 10.3 assists over the Spurs' last three games, all wins. He recorded 23 points and 12 assists in their 98-93 victory over the Hawks on Saturday. Probable starters Sixers Jrue Holiday Jason Richardson Evan Turner Thad Young Lavoy Allen Spurs Tony Parker Danny Green Kawhi Leonard Tim Duncan Tiago Splitter Injuries Sixers Andrew Bynum (bone bruise) is out indefinitely. Spurs Manu Ginobili (grade 1 left hamstring strain) is out for tonight.</p>
By now, Tim Quarterman is used to being asked about Ben Simmons.
The former LSU point guard declared for the NBA draft following his junior season and enter the same draft in which Simmons, the freshman phenom, is projected to be the No. 1 or No. 2 pick.
As Quarterman goes through his own pre-draft process, it's inevitable he'll have to field questions about his former teammate he calls “his little brother” along the way.
“He’s a great passer, he can handle the ball and he’s always there to cheer you on,” Quarterman said Monday following a workout with the Sixers on Monday. “He likes for other people to accomplish great accomplishments. He’s a great teammate.”
Simmons came under criticism during his freshman year for “quitting” on the Tigers. The team went 19-14 and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. They also chose not to participate in any other postseason tournaments. Even though Simmons averaged a team-high 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game, there was question over his effort.
Quarterman said that wasn’t the case.
"Ben is a great person, a great player and he's a great competitor, so I don't think throughout the season he ever quit on us," Quarterman said. “I think he continued to play hard. I think us losing frustrated a lot of us as competitors because we always wanted to win.”
The Sixers have an edge evaluating Simmons. While he grew up thousands of miles from Philadelphia in Australia, it just so happens Brett Brown coached Simmons' father David during his extensive coaching career in Australia. Not only does Brown know Simmons’ family, he still is closely connected to those involved in his basketball career.
“I know the people that have worked with him all across the board,” Brown said. “That’s just one of the benefits of living in the country and 20 minutes from where he grew up for 17 years, short of my Sydney days where it makes it 12 years.”
Of course Quarterman didn't work out with the Sixers just to speak on Simmons. He is also fighting for a place in the NBA as well.
"Tim did a very good job creating for others," Brandon Williams, Sixers vice president of basketball administration, said. "What I'm impressed by is he's such a nuisance defensively, his length and athleticism. Then he showed his ability to create off the bounce."
Weight: 214 pounds
It seems rare these days for juniors considering the NBA draft to return to school. It's even more unique for those players to take a leap from likely draft picks to lottery locks.
But that's exactly what Buddy Hield did during his dazzling senior season at Oklahoma. The guard demanded the country's attention as he shot his way to 25.0 points per game (second in the nation) and helped the Sooners reach the Final Four as he racked up both the prestigious Wooden and Naismith Awards in the process.
While the scoring was certainly worthy of praise, Hield's efficiency was even more impressive. Despite attempting career highs in field goals (16.2), three-pointers (8.7) and free throws per game (5.4), the sharpshooter increased his percentages across the board. Hield connected on 50.1 percent from the field, 45.7 percent from three-point range and 88.0 percent from the line.
Even though Hield capped off his decorated career with a dud in Oklahoma's Final Four loss to eventual national champion Villanova (nine points on 4 of 12 shooting), he proved throughout the course of the season that his ceiling is higher than expected and that he belongs among the top tier of this year's draft class.
All of those days practicing on a milk crate back in the Bahamas paid off because Hield can flat-out shoot the ball. His 147 threes led the nation last season and were tied for the most by any college player since some guy named Stephen Curry drained 162 in 2008.
But Hield isn't just a standstill shooter by any means. Yes, he can catch and shoot, but he also has the ability to fire off screens, pull up off the dribble and get to the rim at times.
Hield also showed he wasn't afraid to stick his nose into the trees by pulling down 5.7 rebounds per game a season ago and 4.9 a night during his time at Oklahoma.
There is some concern about whether Hield will be able to get that silky shot off the way he wants to at the next level. His jumper does have a lower release point than usual, and at 6-foot-4, he won't be able to just rise up to shoot over smaller defenders in the NBA. That means to get open he will have to rely more on his ball handling, which could use some work and helped lend itself to Hield's 3.1 turnovers per game as a senior. Hield will also have to improve his defense, which has never been a strong suit.
How he'd fit with the Sixers
Seamlessly. In case you haven't heard, the Sixers can use all of the outside shooting help they can get. With so many big bodies doing their work down in the paint, Hield would be able to spot up for one open jumper after another.
However, with the two perceived transcendent talents at the top of the draft, the only way we would be able to see how Hield looks in a Sixers jersey would be if Bryan Colangelo pulls the trigger on a trade to acquire another high draft pick.
Sure, Hield's game has some similarities to Curry and he received a co-sign from Kobe Bryant during the NCAA Tournament, but let's not get too carried away. A more accurate comparison would be Portland guard and Lehigh product C.J. McCollum. Like McCollum, Hield is a natural shooter who can score from just about anywhere on the floor. Hield also has the drive to get even better, just like McCollum, who walked away with the NBA's Most Improved Player Award this season.
Hield is an early- to mid-lottery selection. Look for him to go somewhere between the fifth and ninth picks.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry knocked down yet another 3-pointer in the waning moments, pulled his jersey up into his mouth and yelled to the rafters in triumph once more.
A special, record-setting season saved for the defending champs, with a memorable comeback added to the long list of accomplishments.
Splash Brothers Curry and Klay Thompson carried the 73-win Warriors right back to the NBA Finals, as Golden State rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-88 on Monday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.
Now, Curry and Co. are playing for another NBA title -- just as they planned since Day 1 of training camp in September.
Bring on LeBron James again.
"You appreciate how tough it is to get back here," Curry said. "You've got to be appreciative of this accomplishment, and look forward to getting four more wins."
The MVP scored 36 points with seven 3-pointers to finish with an NBA-record 32 in a seven-game series, and also had eight assists. Thompson added 21 points and six 3s, two days after his record 11 3-pointers led a Game 6 comeback that sent the series home to raucous Oracle Arena for one more.
The Warriors became the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win a postseason series. They return to the NBA Finals for a rematch with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost the 2015 title in six games as Golden State captured its first championship in 40 years.
Game 1 is Thursday night in Oakland.
"We survived by the skin of our teeth," coach Steve Kerr said. "We were able to pull it out, and we're moving on."
His signature mouthpiece dangling out and the game ball cradled in his left hand, Curry pumped his right arm as yellow confetti fell through Oracle Arena once the final buzzer sounded.
With the Thunder trailing 90-86, Serge Ibaka fouled Curry on a 3-point try with 1:18 to go and the shot clock running out. Curry made all three free throws, then that 3-pointer to seal it.
"This is who he is. Having a clutch performance in a Game 7, that's Steph Curry," Kerr said.
And Golden State's beloved "Strength In Numbers" catchphrase coined by Coach of the Year Kerr was needed in every way.
"No one ever had any doubt that we could get this done," Draymond Green said. "People have seen teams down 3-1 before but they ain't seen many. They've definitely never seen a 73-win team down 3-1."
Andre Iguodala joined the starting lineup for just the second time all season and the 2015 NBA Finals MVP hung tough against Kevin Durant, who scored 27 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Shaun Livingston's breakaway, one-handed dunk late in the third provided a big lift off the Warriors bench.
Oklahoma City won Game 1 108-102 at deafening Oracle Arena, so Golden State never envisioned this one coming easily. Russell Westbrook had 19 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds for the Thunder.
"It hurts losing, especially being up 3 games to 1," Durant said.
It took a quarter and a half for Thompson to warm up after his 41-point performance in a 108-101 win Saturday at Oklahoma City that sent the series back to the East Bay.
He missed his initial seven shots before hitting a 3 6:02 before halftime, energizing the Warriors in their first Game 7 at home in 40 years.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Thompson and Iguodala pulled the Warriors within 54-51 with 7:57 left in the third. They tied it on Curry's 3 at 7:21 and he followed with another 3 to give his team the lead.
Curry and Thompson each topped the previous record for 3s in a seven-game series, 28 by Dennis Scott and Ray Allen. Curry hit one over 7-foot Steven Adams in the third, and Thompson wound up with 30 3s.
Iguodala replaced Harrison Barnes in the starting lineup and what a move by Kerr, who did the same thing last year in crunch time. Iguodala made a pretty bounce pass through the paint to Green for Golden State's first basket, and his smothering defense on Durant kept the Thunder star without a shot until his 3 at the 5:45 mark in the first. Durant had just nine points on five shots in the first half.
But Oklahoma City dictated the tempo with snappy passes and the hard, aggressive rebounding that had been such a part of its success this season. The Thunder couldn't sustain it.
"They won a world championship last year, and they've broken an NBA record, and people are already talking about it before the playoffs started, this may be the greatest team to ever lace them up in the history of the NBA," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.
The Warriors, who fell behind 35-22, lost their last Game 7 at home: 94-86 to Phoenix in the Western Conference finals on May 16, 1976.
Thunder: The Thunder's 12 third-quarter points were the fewest allowed by Golden State in a playoff third quarter during the shot clock era. ... Durant took nine shots in the first 33:25. ... Oklahoma City led by as many as 13 in the first half. ... Donovan celebrated his 51st birthday. ... The Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State's opponent the previous round, are the only teams to beat the Warriors twice this season.
Warriors: The Warriors are 4-4 all-time in Game 7s -- 3-1 at home. ... Iguodala earned his first since Jan. 2 against Denver. ... Golden State wasn't whistled for its first foul until 2:34 in the first. ... The Warriors' 42 first-half points were their fewest at home this season. ... Curry hit a 3 in his 51st straight playoff game.