76ers sign Charlie Brown Jr. to two-way contract

The Philadelphia 76ers signed Charlie Brown Jr. to a two-way contract, the team announced Tuesday.

After signing a 10-day contract with the 76ers on January 3, the 24-year-old Brown appeared in two games for Philadelphia and showed off his athleticism and defense, swiping a pair of steals in each of his appearances against San Antonio and Houston.

Before joining the 76ers, Brown played for Dallas on a 10-day contract, playing 15 total minutes across three games. Brown also saw action in 11 NBA G League games this season with the 76ers’ affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.   

For his career, Brown has seen action in 24 NBA games with Philadelphia, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta after going undrafted in 2019.   

A Philadelphia native, Brown played his college basketball at Saint Joseph’s.

In a related move, Philadelphia has waived Aaron Henry. 

 

Pop on Embiid: ‘He’s playing some of his best basketball for sure’

Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid continued to be his dominant self Friday night against the Spurs. Embiid had his sixth straight game of 30 points and his 13th 30-point game of the season as he tallied 31 points, 12 boards, and seven assists.

Ultimately, the 76ers(22-16) would win their sixth straight after defeating San Antonio(15-23) 119-100 at Wells Fargo Center.

Embiid’s 30-point streak ranks second in the league this season to LeBron James(seven games).

In addition, Embiid joins Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson as the only 76ers to score at least 30 points in six straight games.  

“There’s guys that trust me to make plays,” Embiid said postgame. “Like, I was telling them it’s not about scoring, it’s about making the right plays. These days teams don’t play man an; they play double. Stay aggressive, play double team and get shots off; you know I gotta get my guys open and make their job easier.”

The four-time All-Star is playing at an elite level, and before Friday’s win over San Antonio, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich showed Embiid some love.

“He’s obviously a wonderful player, and he’s playing some of his best basketball for sure,” Popovich said. “Everybody tries to guard him, front him, double team him, try to limit his catches, try not to foul him. All these kinds of things, but the game starts, and he scores 30 a night. 

Embiid is getting it done for the 76ers, and after some COVID issues, which caused this team to struggle, Philadelphia is slowly climbing up the standings, and Embiid is the biggest reason.

Notes:

The 76ers saw three players with stat lines of at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists against San Antonio.  Embiid(31 pointts, 12 rebounds, seven assists), Seth Curry(23 points, seven rebounds, seven assists), and Tobias Harris(23 points, seven rebounds, five assists).

Per Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time since Jan. 18, 1991, where the 76ers had three players post such stat lines in the same game.

Watch below as Popovich talks Embiid:

76ers’ Embiid named Eastern Conference Player of the Month

Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for  December, the league announced Tuesday.

In 13 games in the month of December, Embiid averaged 29.2 points (seventh in the NBA, fourth in the East), 11.2 rebounds (sixth in the NBA, fourth in the East), 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks in 34.5 minutes per game. He was one of three NBA players to average 25 points and 10 rebounds through the month, joining Denver’s Nikola Jokić and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

The six-year veteran was the lone player during the month to post totals of at least 350 points, 140 rebounds and 50 assists. These totals led to Embiid posting eight double-doubles, which ranked second in the East and tied for fifth in the NBA.  

Embiid scored in double figures in all 13 appearances in the month, including two 40-plus point performances. On Dec. 6, in a win at Charlotte, Embiid scored a season-high 43 points (15-20 FG, 1-2 3FG, 14-15 FT), while adding 15 rebounds and seven assists. He is one of two players to have a game of at least 40-15-5 this season. 

In stringing together seven straight 30-plus point road games, Embiid joined Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Iverson as the only 76ers to ever post such a streak. The only other players to score 30-or-more in seven straight road games since the start of the 2010-11 season are James Harden, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant.   

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell earned Western Conference Player of the Month honors for games played in December. 

Towns on Embiid: ‘I am very happy that he’s come to the other side with COVID’

Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid made his return to the court on Saturday after missing nine games with COVID-19.

The four-time All-Star picked up where he left off as he led all players with 42 points and tied a game-high with 14 boards, but Philadelphia would fall to Minnesota 121-120 in double OT.

After the game, Embiid discussed his battle with COVID, and according to him, it wasn’t good.

“It hasn’t been good,” Embiid said. “That jawn hit me hard; I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. It was that bad, so I’m just thankful to be sitting here. You know, I struggled with it, but I’m just glad I got over it. You know, I’m just here doing what I love with some good people.”

Minnesota C Karl Anthony-Towns and Embiid have had their issues over the year, but Towns, who sadly lost multiple members of his family to COVID, including his mother, is happy to see Embiid back on the court.

“I told Embiid on the court as well; I am very happy that he’s come to the other side with COVID because we have had our thing for a while, but that’s bigger than basketball, that’s bigger than what we have,” Towns said. “I’ve seen it kill people, and I’m glad that he is on the other side, you know, so I am very, very happy that he’s doing well and he’s coming out on the other side and that he is healthy and he is getting himself back into basketball. No matter how we have felt about each other at times in the past, I think he is a hell of a player, and I am happy that the NBA has him back because, like I said, I want to play against the best of the best and he is one of the best, so it makes me have to play better, and it gives me a challenge.”

There are many things more significant than basketball, and COVID Is one of them, so it’s good to see Embiid and Towns bury the hatchet.

76ers assistant Joerger stepping away from team for cancer treatments

Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Dave Joerger is stepping from the team to continue cancer treatments. According to ESPN, Joerger has a form of “head and neck” cancer.

The 47-year-old Joerger reportedly told the team after their loss to the Pacers on Saturday night about his diagnosis.

Joerger released the following statement through the team:

“I will be stepping away from the bench, effective immediately, as I was recently diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer. I will take this time to focus on my health and I look forward to rejoining the team once I’ve completed the treatment process. 

“Over the last few months, I learned the importance of self-evaluation and care, early detection and annual medical exams. I know I will beat this diagnosis with the help of my world-class medical team at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health, under the direction of Dr. David M. Cognetti, Dr. Voichita Bar Ad and Dr. Jennifer Johnson. I would like to thank the entire medical team and support staff at Jefferson Health for their extraordinary care. I would also like to acknowledge Josh Harris, David Blitzer, Doc Rivers, Daryl Morey, Elton Brand and the entire 76ers organization. Their unwavering support has allowed me to concentrate all of my efforts towards beating cancer. Most importantly, thank you to my wife Kimberly and my loving family who continue to provide me with strength.  

“The game of basketball has given me so much, highlighted by the extended support system and lifelong friendships I have been able to form. I look forward to using my platform to continue to raise awareness and help support the fight against cancer.”

 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said the following about Joerger:

“Dave is not only one of the most talented and respected coaches in the NBA, but he’s a great friend, colleague, husband and father. The same positivity, enthusiasm and grit that have made him a successful coach will also carry him through his fight against cancer. I know I speak for everyone at the 76ers when I say, “Get well soon, we love you and we’ll be with you throughout this entire process. Your battle is our battle.” 

Joerger joined the 76ers last season as assistant after being a head coach in Memphis and Sacramento.

76ers’ Rivers: ‘Tyrese [Maxey] was sensational’

On Tuesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers(8-4) hosted the world champion, Milwaukee Bucks(5-6). 

However, Philadelphia was without their top three scorers in Joel Embiid(Health and Safety Protocols), Tobias Harris(Health and Safety Protocols), and Seth Curry(Foot contusion). Also, they were missing Matisse Thybulle(Health and Safety Protocols), and of course, Ben Simmons.

Philly battled for the whole game but did not have enough as they were outscored 27-16 in the fourth and fell to Milwaukee 118-109.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and Bottom Line of Philly’s loss to Milwaukee:

The Great for the 76ers:

-Tyrese Maxey did everything in his power to lead the Sixers to victory. The second-year guard led Philadelphia with a game-high-tying and season-high 31 points (12-24 FG), including a career-best four made threes, along with five boards and four assists. Maxey set a new single-quarter career-high with 17 points in the first period (7-9 FG, 3-4 3FG).

-Georges Niang scored 12 of his season-high 21 points against the Bucks off the bench, including five threes. According to Stathead, this is the 22nd time of Niang’s career where he has scored at least 10 points in a half.

-Andre Drummond has been great this season. He had another double-double with 17 points, a game-high 20 rebounds, and two blocks. This is Drummond’s second straight game of at least 20 rebounds(25 rebounds against Knicks on Monday night), leaving him tied for the fifth-most double-digit rebounding games in the league this year. Through 12 games, Drummond is the second player with consecutive games of at least 10 points and 20 rebounds.

-Shake Milton started for the injured Seth Curry and had a solid performance with 20 points, six assists, and four rebounds.

Not so Great for the 76ers:

Philadelphia did not shoot the ball all that great on Tuesday night, which is understandable. The 76ers shot 41% from the field.

Bottom Line:

Look, it would have been amazing if the 76ers had won this game, and while there are no moral victories in this league, Philadelphia might have earned a moral victory. Without Embiid and Harris, it’s going to be tough, but maybe they can find a way to steal a few games without their top players.

“I don’t know if anything surprises me with these guys,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said postgame. “They play hard; they try to figure it out… Tyrese [Maxey] was sensational tonight, kept attacking, Georges [Niang] gave us everything he had, I thought [Drummond] offensively on the glass was really good.”

What’s Next:

Philadelphia finishes their three-game homestand on Thursday night against the Raptors.

Best of the Rest:

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 31 points and 16 rebounds. Antetokounmpo has now scored at least 30 points in four games this season; Grayson Allen set a season-high with 25 points in the game, and Bobby Portis added 19 points and 10 rebounds.

76ers’ Rivers on win over Blazers: ‘I thought every single guy did something to help us win the game”

The Philadelphia 76ers(5-2) made it three in a row after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers(3-4), 113-103, on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Without their top two leading scorers in Joel Embiid(rest) and Tobias Harris(Health and Safety Protocols), the 76ers were still able to get it done. Philadelphia had seven players in double figures led by Seth Curry’s 23 points.

The Sixers had a 10-point lead in the fourth before the Blazers cut it to three with just over four minutes left. However, Philly would close the game on a 9-2 run to get the victory.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and Bottom line of Philly’s win over Portland.

The Great for the 76ers:

-Seth Curry scored seven of his 23 points in the fourth. This was Curry’s third game of 20 points or more this season. He was 10/17 from the field, including 3/10 from downtown.

-Georges Niang had a season-high 21 points, grabbed five rebounds and five assists off the bench. Niang had his first 20-5-5 game of his career. He’s been a great addition off Philly’s bench and was huge on Monday night.

-Andre Drummond stepped in for Embiid and was big-time against the Blazers. The nine-year veteran had a loaded stat line with 14 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, five steals, and one block. This is the first game a player has posted a 10-15-5-5 line in the league since the 2018-19 season (Stathead).

Turnovers: Philadelphia forced 15 Portland turnovers, with 11 coming by way of the steal. The 76ers scored 17 points off turnovers on Monday night. 

Sharing is caring: Without Embiid and Harris, Philadelphia needed to share the ball and get everybody involved. The Sixers had a team season-high 34 assists of 43 field goals. Since the 2017-18 season, Philadelphia is 67-10, when they have 30-plus assists. (Stathead).

“Yeah, it was great. I was joking with Michael Rubin; I said, ‘you only had $105 million not in the game tonight,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “So, it was just a good team effort. The guys, we went with some crazy lineups—a lot of small ball. [Andre Drummond] was fantastic in his role. It was one of those games where I thought every single guy did something to help us win the game. They kind of stay within their roles. They understood what we needed. Getting to the paint. Creating plays.”

The Not So Great for the 76ers:

The fans: With Ben Simmons still on the roster, the fans chanting “We want Lillard” is a little inappropriate. However, I get it, but in the end, Lillard is a Blazer, and you don’t yell for an opposing player to come to Philly while he’s on another team’s roster.

Bottom Line:

This was a game the 76ers would have lost last season. Drummond is the best backup center Philly has had for Embiid, and he paid dividends last night. Great win for the 76ers, and it showed how much deeper Philadelphia is than a year ago. 

What’s next:

Philadelphia concludes their four-game homestand on Wednesday against the new-look Chicago Bulls.

Best of the Rest:

Furkan Korkmaz added 15 points and five assists in place of Harris, and Shake Milton scored 10 points off the bench.

Norman Powell led the Blazers with 22 points, and C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard added 20 points apiece; Lillard also had 10 assists and seven rebounds.

 

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Doc Rivers praises Thybulle’s defense in team’s win over Hawks

The Philadelphia 76ers improved to 4-2 on the season after defeating the Atlanta Hawks(3-3) on Saturday night, 122-94, at The Wells Fargo Center, in their first meeting since last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals showdown.

Here’s the Great, Not the Great, and the Bottom Line of Philly’s win over Atlanta.

The Great for the 76ers:

-Philadelphia had six players in double-figures led by Tobias Harris, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds, both team highs. In the process, Harris became the 15th player this season to have multiple 20-10 games (Stathead).

-Joel Embiid had 19 points, five rebounds, two assists, and a block. Embiid and Harris accounted for 29 of Philly’s first 60 points.

-Sixers’ backcourt played well on Saturday night. Tyrese Maxey had 16 points and three assists; Seth Curry added 15 points.

Maxey also did a great job on Trae Young, who had 13 points and 10 assists on 5/16 shooting.

“He did a good job,” Curry said about Maxey. “He stuck to the game plan. Continued to chase him(Young) everywhere all over the floor, fight off the screens. So, that’s all you can really do. Continue to pursue, work hard. And just trust your teammates as much as possible.”

Defense: Philadelphia’s defense held Atlanta to just .379 shooting from the field. This began in the first quarter as Philadelphia held Atlanta to 15 points on 6-22 shooting from the floor, marking the fewest points allowed in a quarter by Philadelphia since they limited the Golden State Warriors to just 23 in the fourth quarter of their matchup last March. (Stathead).

-Speaking of defense, Matisse Thybulle added 11 points, but he brought it on defense as he had four steals and three block shots. This season, he is the fifth player in the NBA to post at least 10 points, three steals, and three blocks in a game.

“He (Matisse) was great,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said. “The whole bench really… but Matisse just defensively all over the floor, steals, blocks shots, energy, drives offensively, which we work with him every day on, so he’s in a great place.”

Points in the paint: Philadelphia lived in the paint, and they had 60 points in the painted area. Philadelphia shot 53% from the floor.

Not so Great for the 76ers:

-Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. That game and that series were so winnable for the 76ers. They blew big leads; Ben Simmons was a nonfactor and asked for a trade. Losing that series was unacceptable, but maybe it fuels the 76ers this season.

Bottom Line:

Philadelphia gets their revenge, and they pretty much led from start to finish against Atlanta. The Hawks will be a good team, and this was a quality win for the 76ers.

What’s Next:

The 76ers continue their four-game homestand on Monday night against the Blazers. 

Best of the Rest:

Cam Reddish returned home and led the Hawks with 16 points off the bench. Clint Capela added 11 points and 12 rebounds.

76ers exercise options on Maxey, Thybulle

The Philadelphia 76ers have exercised the fourth-year contract option for Matisse Thybulle and the third-year contract option for Tyrese Maxey; both are set to take effect for the 2022-23 season, the team announced on Friday.

Thybulle, who is in his third NBA season, was selected by Boston with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft before Philadelphia acquired his rights in a trade. The 24-year-old Thybulle has appeared in 135 games (22 starts) for his career, tallying 4.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 19.9 minutes per game. Thybulle’s 209 career steals rank sixth in the NBA since his rookie season.

Last season, he was the only player in the NBA to have at least 100 steals and 70 blocks in less than 1,300 minutes played.  

Maxey, now in his second season and the team’s starting point guard, holds career averages of 8.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 16.7 minutes per contest in 63 games (13 starts). Maxey posted a career-high 39 points, along with seven rebounds and eight assists against Denver last season. At the time, the 20-year-old Maxey was the first rookie since 2019 to post a 35-5-5 performance in a single game and became just the second 76er rookie to post such numbers in a game.

The 76ers selected Maxey with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft from the University of Kentucky.

76ers’ Embiid on Simmons: ‘At this point, I don’t care about that man’

When Ben Simmons returned to the 76ers last week after refusing to report to training camp due to him wanting to be traded, the thought was he was ready to show up and possibly play for Philadelphia until they could trade him.

However, as we’ve seen the past two days, it’s clear Simmons does not want to be a part of the 76ers. Yesterday, at practice, Simmons barely took part in the team huddle. Today, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers asked Simmons to join a defensive drill today. Simmons refused. Rivers asked again. Simmons said no again. Rivers then told Simmons he should go home, and Simmons dropped the ball and left.

Because of Simmons’ actions, the 76ers suspended him for one game due to conduct detrimental to the team. As a result, the three-time All-Star will miss the 76ers’ season opener in New Orleans against the Pelicans on Wednesday night. 

After practice, Rivers explained why he threw Simmons out of practice.

“I just thought he was a distraction today,” Rivers said. “I didn’t think he wanted to do what everybody else was doing. It was early. It wasn’t a big deal. I just told him he should leave. We went on with practice.”

Joel Embiid appears fed up with the situation.

“At this point, I don’t care about that man,” Embiid said about Simmons. “He does whatever he wants.”

However, Rivers seems willing to give Simmons another chance.

“Every day, every single moment, I’m going to give Ben a chance to join the team and be part of the team,” Rivers said. “He’s under contract to be part of the team, and that’s not going to change.”

Simmons has four years, $147 million left on his contract. 

The 76ers will wait to find the best possible deal, so Simmons could be traded now or even later, but based on today’s actions, it would be a surprise if Simmons played another game with the 76ers.