Nets beat 76ers, ‘embarrassing, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, quarantine, Seth Curry COVID-19 positive, Kyrie Irving


Fresh off a shock 122-109 loss to the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers have been forced into quarantine after shooter Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19.

Luckily for both sides Curry was already ruled out of the game with an ankle injury and missed the game.

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Curry immediately went to an isolation room and left the arena separately to the team.

He did spend the first quarter on the bench however and the game against the Nets was also the 76ers’ third in four days.

But his teammates have been forced into quarantine in New York after The Athletics’ Shams Charania revealed the team had learned of Curry’s positive test as the game went on and will stay in New York to undergo contact tracing.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne revealed that Joel Embiid, who sat next to Curry on the bench, would quarantine with his family until he’s sure he didn’t catch the virus.

It could cause havoc around the league if Sixers players are required to quarantine and miss games due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols around COVID-19.

The Nets and the Wizards, who the 76ers played yesterday, could also be forced to quarantine and contract trace, which could throw the NBA schedule into chaos.

It continued the worst day the team has had this season after capitulating to a 13-point loss to the Nets without their superstars.

In one of the weirdest absences of the season so far, Nets coach Steve Nash had no idea why Irving wasn’t available or where he was.

But according to Heavy.com senior writer Brandon Robinson, Irving said via a close source that “I just didn’t want to play” following the events in the Washington.

Entering the game 7-1 on the season, the 76ers’ problems of old appeared to have resurfaced with Embiid and Simmons combining for 11 from 27 from the floor.

But it was an improvement on the first half when the pair shot four from 15 combined with the Sixers down by 14 at the break.

NBA legend Charles Barkley labelled the performance “embarrassing”.

Embiid finished with 20 points and 12 boards, with Shake Milton leading the way for Philly with 24 points.

Simmons had a horrible night, with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists.

76ers coach Doc Rivers was scathing in his assessment of this game.

“We didn’t come to play is what I saw,” Rivers said. “It was just one of those games. It was disappointing.”

Asked what his focus will be from here, Rivers replied: “Nothing really, other than being awake.”

Joe Harris scored 28 points, while Caris LaVert hit 22 points with 10 assists to lead the Nets to the win.

Despite the 7-1 start before the game being the Sixers’ best record over eight games since 2000-01, fans were quick to turn on Philly.



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Embiid, Simmons extend dominance of Knicks as Sixers roll


Julius Randle scored 25 points and Alec Burks added 22 for the Knicks, who fell to 0-2 under Tom Thibodeau. Barrett, after a 26-point season opener, shot two for 15 and had 10 points.

The Knicks were without both their first-round rookies. Obi Toppin is sidelined by a strained right calf and Immanuel Quickley was still sore after sustaining a hip pointer in their season opener.

Ben Simmons drives to the basket.Credit:AP

The Sixers’ lead was just three a minute and a half into the third quarter before six straight points made it 68-59 on Curry’s three-pointer. Randle made a free throw, but two baskets by Embiid and three-pointers by Curry and Danny Green made it a 16-3 run and extended the lead to 78-62 midway through the period.

The Knicks cut it to nine midway through the fourth, but Embiid nailed a three-pointer before a nice flurry by Simmons pushed it to 104-85.

In San Antonio, DeMar DeRozan had 27 points and the Spurs rallied in the final minute to beat Toronto 119-114.

DeRozan’s three-pointer with a minute remaining pulled the Spurs to 114-113, and they took a 115-114 lead on LaMarcus Aldridge’s fadeaway put-back with 29.9 seconds remaining.

Toronto’s Kyle Lowry missed a pull-up 19-footer with 22.3 seconds left, and Rudy Gay made two free throws at the other end.

Fred VanVleet had 27 points and Chris Boucher added 22 points for the Raptors.

Patty Mills added 21 points for San Antonio. Aldridge had 12 points and Dejounte Murray had 11 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

Oklahoma City held off Charlotte in the Thunder’s season opener, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hitting a tiebreaking jumper with 1.4 seconds left and finishing with 24 points.

The Thunder led by 13 with 1:50 to go, but Miles Bridges spurred Charlotte with 11 of his 14 points in the final 1:06 – including three threes in the last 25 seconds. His final three tied it at 107 with 10.3 seconds left. The final score was 109-107.

Terrence Ross scored 25 points and Orlando overcame Russell Westbrook triple-double in his home debut for Washington, with the Magic winning 130-120.

Westbrook had 15 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists to become the fourth player in NBA history to record triple-doubles in his team’s first two games. Magic Johnson (twice), Jerry Lucas and Oscar Robertson previously accomplished the feat. Westbrook is the first player to do it with a new team after being acquired from Houston in the offseason for John Wall.

Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 17 rebounds, and Markelle Fultz added 21 points to help the Magic improve to 2-0. Bradley Beal had 39 points for the Wizards. They are 0-2.

In other results, the Cavaliers beat the Pistons 128-119 in double overtime, the Hawks beat the Grizzles 122-112, the Timberwolves beat Utah 116-111 and the Pacers beat the Bulls 125-106.

AP

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Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Al Horford, Seth Curry, Danny Green, Josh Richardson


The Philadelphia 76ers have failed to cash in on their superstar duo after enduring years of trusting the process at the bottom of the league.

Multiple seasons saw the 76ers finish last or second last in the Eastern Conference to build up the picks which saw them secure the likes of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

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But even with two All-Stars on the roster, they’ve failed to capitalise when it counts in the playoffs, winning only two series over the past three seasons and being swept out of the first round this season by the Boston Celtics.

The team made key moves once their season came to an end by getting rid of Brett Brown and bringing in Doc Rivers. But it was the hiring of former Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey that spiked interests.

Morey has never been afraid of making league-shaping moves and on Thursday during the NBA Draft he pulled off major trades that set the 76ers up for a big push in the 2020/21 season.

Rumours had swirled in the lead up to the Draft that Simmons could be packaged in a trade with the 76ers reportedly attempting to lure James Harden.

Simmons’ five-year contract extension kicks in this season which sees him owed $A233m with Embiid having three-years and $A130m remaining.

The problem however for the Sixers was bloated salaries and a poor mix of players on the roster. Morey took care of that Thursday.

Big man Al Horford and his absurd $A149m salary was sent out the door to Oklahoma with the 76ers receiving wing players Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson in return.

Next came the move to send the underperforming Josh Richardson to Dallas in exchange for sharpshooter Seth Curry.

The moves open the floor up for Simmons and Embiid to work in the paint by surrounding them with quality shooters from beyond the arc.

The moves drew widespread praise and that was before the 76ers went into the Draft and secured promising prospects in Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed.

Morey knew the team needed to get better fits around the two stars and that meant landing stars who could light it up from deep.

“When Joel and Ben have had that, it’s actually insane how good those line-ups and how good those teams played,” Morey said.

“That was the theme for tonight. Getting Seth, you can argue he’s the best shooter in the NBA.

“Having a truly gravity elite shooter really changes the dynamic for Ben and Joel. Those who watched the Sixers up close and personally, like you [more] than me, know that when Joel and Ben have had that, it’s actually insane how good those line-ups and teammates played when everyone was happy.”

The 2020-21 NBA season will officially get underway on December 23.



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Sad Joel Embiid photo sums up 76ers sorry season


With 6:31 remaining in the fourth quarter and his team trailing 112-90, Joel Embiid trudged to the 76ers bench, sat down and put his head in his hands.

A season that began with serious championship ambition was all but over after a game two humiliation against the Celtics saw Philly fall behind 2-0 in their first round series. And there’s no coming back.

Optimists will point to Ben Simmons’ absence as a reason why this team as it’s currently formed can’t be counted out, but the 128-101 defeat was another heartless performance from a team that’s made a habit of them.

Embiid was immense in 34 minutes, scoring 34 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. But the problem areas that drive 76ers fans crazy were still there as he fell in love with his jumpshot after a strong opening and didn’t have enough gas in the tank to go a full four quarters.

The big man shouldn’t cop most of the criticism though after another disappearing act from $180 million man Tobias Harris. The 28-year-old hit just 4/15 shots and didn’t make a three. $109 million forward Al Horford scored four points and grabbed two rebounds in 23 minutes.

Philly started well, hitting almost every shot in the first eight or nine minutes. But as soon as Boston — led by emerging superstar Jayson Tatum’s 33 points and eight threes — threw a punch, the 76ers went down and didn’t get up.

Coach Brett Brown’s days are surely numbered while the Celtics look set to hit the second round with serious momentum as Kemba Walker (22 points) rediscovers his form.

SMOKIN’ JOE STARS IN UTAH AVALANCHE

Utah responded from the gut punch of a playoff-opening overtime defeat against Denver by shooting the lights out in a 124-105 game two win to square the series.

Australia’s Joe Ingles (18 points, 4/9 threes) was among the Jazz players who lit up from deep, along with Donovan Mitchell (30 points, 6/7 threes), Jordan Clarkson (26 points, 4/9 threes) and Royce O’Neale (3/4 threes).

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Ingles has hit some nice form in the bubble, getting off to a strong start in the playoffs with a 19-point, six-assist, five-rebound outing in game one after stat lines of 11 points and 13 assists against Denver and 25 points and five assists against Memphis in his last two regular season games where he played normal minutes.

Michael Porter Jr was also on fire from the three-point line for Denver hitting 6/9 triples on his way to 28 points. Nikola Jokic was also solid with 28 points, six assists and 11 rebounds.

RAPTORS HAVE ENOUGH IN RESERVE

Toronto reserve Norman Powell scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter as the defending champion Raptors rallied to beat Brooklyn 104-99 and take a 2-0 lead.

The Raptors, who had converted 22 three-pointers in a game-one blowout of the Nets, connected on just 25.7 per cent of their three-point attempts — and 43.7 per cent of shots overall — under heavy defensive pressure from a Nets team eager to even the series.

But turnovers proved crucial, with nine Toronto giveaways leading to six Nets points while 17 Brooklyn turnovers resulted in 23 points for the Raptors.

Brooklyn, trailing by three with 15 seconds remaining, had a chance to force overtime but an ill-timed pass on their final possession led to a final, decisive turnover — forced by Toronto’s Kyle Lowry — that sealed the win for the Raptors.

“We’ve been here before,” said Toronto’s Fred VanVleet, who delivered a double-double of 24 points and 10 assists. “You’ve just got to stick with it, weather the storm.”

Trailing 80-74 through three quarters, the Raptors opened the fourth on a 17-5 scoring run, taking their first lead since the second period on OG Anunoby’s dunk with nine minutes to play.

Powell extended the lead to eight points with a driving dunk, and the Raptors held on.

Lowry finished with 21 points and nine rebounds and Pascal Siakam added 19 points for the Raptors.

— AFP



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