Tonight in NBA: Nets try to extend streak


Tonight in NBA: Nets try to extend streak

Behind the type of leadership Doug Collins wanted out of Thad Young, Jrue Holiday and Jason Richardson, the Sixers downed the Rockets, 107-100, to end their five-game losing streak (see story).

Meanwhile, Philly native Marcus Morris is finally getting his opportunity to display his skills on the professional level with the Houston Rockets (see story).

Here's a look at some of Sunday's NBA action:

Pacers at Nets, 6 p.m.
Despite dealing with a coaching change, the Brooklyn Nets are in the midst of a strong stretch.

To win six straight games for the first time in nearly seven years, they'll have to end Indiana's own four-game streak on Sunday in Brooklyn.

Making things tougher, the Nets (21-15) might be without Deron Williams, who is the team's second-leading scorer at 16.7 points per game, after he suffered a thigh contusion in Friday's 99-79 win over Phoenix.

That victory marked Brooklyn's third straight by 20 or more points, the first time the franchise has accomplished that in its NBA history. The Nets are 7-1 since firing Avery Johnson and naming P.J. Carlesimo interim coach on Dec. 27. They had lost five of six before letting Johnson go.

Timberwolves at Spurs, 7 p.m.
After failing to break out of their road funk despite Tony Parker's heroics, the San Antonio Spurs look to continue their dominance at home.

The Spurs appear primed to get back in the win column and capture their 12th straight home victory Sunday night when they meet the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves.

San Antonio has won 15 straight home games in the series by an average of 12.9 points and haven't lost to a visiting Minnesota team since the Kevin Garnett era in 2003-04.

While they've dropped seven of nine on the road following a 101-98 overtime loss at Memphis on Friday night, the Spurs are riding their longest home winning streak since a franchise-record, 22-game run Dec. 3, 2010-March 4, 2011. Sunday's game is the first of three straight and seven of 10 at home.

Thunder at Trail Blazers, 9 p.m.
Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder have taken their high-scoring act on the road, where they'll mostly spend the rest of January.

The Portland Trail Blazers, though, have been pretty stingy at home recently.

Oklahoma City looks to end Portland's nine-game home winning streak by earning a fifth straight victory in the series Sunday night.

The Thunder (28-8) rank near the top of the league averaging 105.7 points and improved to 23-0 when scoring more than 100 with Friday's 116-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel has had surgery on his sore left knee, and the Sixers have not disclosed a timetable for the disgruntled center's return.

Noel has been out since the team's first preseason game. He initially had a left groin strain before experiencing soreness in the knee during rehab, and it was discovered he had an inflamed plica. 

The team is calling the surgery a "minor elective arthroscopic procedure." It was performed in New York by Dr. Riley J. Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Noel eventually will travel to Birmingham, Ala. to rehab with associate clinical director Kevin Wilk at Champion Sports Medicine.

The Sixers expect to have a timetable for his return once Noel returns to Philadelphia. According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Noel is expected to miss three to five weeks. 

This has been a rough preseason for Noel, who hasn't hidden his displeasure with his role on the Sixers' jammed frontcourt. The team has until Oct. 31 to extend his rookie contract but, per a report in the Inquirer earlier this month, the two sides have yet to discuss it. 

Sixers still deciding who will start opener, how long Jahlil Okafor will play

Sixers still deciding who will start opener, how long Jahlil Okafor will play

CAMDEN, N.J. — Brett Brown doesn’t have many options at his disposal for opening night against the Thunder, but a day before the Sixers' regular-season tip-off, he still is considering how to utilize his shorthanded roster.

What Brown is sure of is Joel Embiid will be capped at 20 minutes in five four-minute segments. Embiid, coming off two years of foot injuries, began the preseason playing 12.

The Sixers have not locked in a minutes restriction on Jahlil Okafor. The second-year big man aggravated his right knee during training camp and played eight minutes in his first preseason game last Friday.

“You’ll intermittently sub that and Richaun Holmes will make up the rest,” Brown said after practice Tuesday. “The five-spot is locked in with those three, and I feel like tomorrow we’ll be able to better figure out how many four-minute sections does Jahlil actually get.”

Brown started Sergio Rodriguez, Gerald Henderson, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Embiid in the final two preseason games. On Tuesday he did not announce a starting five, specifically a point guard. That role is between Rodriguez and T.J. McConnell because of the injury to Jerryd Bayless (wrist). 

“Still considering a lot,” Brown said of the one-spot. “Not prepared right now to say one thing or another.”

Rodriguez, who has been practicing with the white squad, anticipates he will be given the nod. It will be his first regular-season game in the NBA since 2010.

“Yes, I expect, but for me that doesn’t matter,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to be a big game for everybody. Everybody needs to be ready. We will need all we have to beat them.”

The Sixers' inactive list includes Bayless, Ben Simmons (foot) and Nerlens Noel (knee), all of whom could be starters if healthy. With so many injuries to major contributors and the implementation of segmented minutes, Brown will have to look down his bench over the course of four quarters.

“We’re going to have to go 10-deep. I bet we could even go 11-deep,” he said. “We’re in a very unusual circumstance that players can’t play multiple minutes. ... That, coupled with I think you can’t expect to have the energy and effort that we want on the floor without giving people six-minute chunks.” 

The Sixers and Thunder face off at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.