Porzingis on trade rumors: ‘It could only distract me at the end of the day’

Mavericks F/C Kristaps Porzingis(questionable) could return on Saturday night as the team travels to Brooklyn to battle the Nets. Porzingis missed the past three games with lower back tightness, including the team’s 111-97 road loss to the 76ers on Thursday night.

During his time away from the floor, rumors surfaced that the Mavericks were quietly shopping the fifth-year player. However, the Mavericks organization quickly said that was not the case. 

On Friday, the 25-year-old Porzingis, who the Mavericks acquired from the Knicks in 2019, addressed the trade rumors.

“As I said, it kind of like came out. It is what it is,” Porzingis said. “I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. I shouldn’t be too worried about it. It could only distract me at the end of the day. I try to focus on being in the moment, being here day-to-day, putting in the work with my teammates, and getting better as a basketball player at the end. That’s it.

“As I said, there’s not much I can do at this point. Just focused on playing, playing well, and getting wins.”

Porzingis missed time to start the season after coming off knee surgery. In 17 games, he’s averaging 20.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 1.6 BPG. He’s under contract until 2023(player option 23-24 season) after signing—a five-year, $158 max contract with the Mavericks back in 2019.

Dallas’ two best players are Luka Doncic and Porzingis, and both are young. Porzingis’ injury history is concerning, but his skill set is tremendous, and both he and Doncic(21 years old) are young, so it’s probably in the team’s best interest to let these two grow together. 

Cavs’ Garland: ‘We’re just growing every day’

The Cleveland Cavaliers(13-21) went into Philadelphia on Saturday night and may have gotten their best win of the season. Behind a combined 53 points from the backcourt of Collin Sexton(28) and Darius Garland(25), the Cavaliers defeated the 76ers 112-109 in OT. 

Philadelphia(22-12) is the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, but for the second time this season, Cleveland was able to defeat Philadelphia. After losing ten straight, the Cavaliers have now won three in a row.

Garland, who added nine assists to go along with his 25 points on Saturday night, believes beating Philadelphia is a great step in the right direction. 

“It’s just another step in the right direction,” Garland said after the game. “We have a lot of growing to do; but beating the number one team in the East is really good. We just have to keep this going, keep the momentum going, and hopefully, we can carry it to All-Star break and after the All-Star break.”

Cavaliers head coach J.B, Bickerstaff felt defense was one of the keys for Cleveland in this victory. Cleveland held Philadelphia to a season-low 47 points in the first half.

“Anytime you get a tough win like this, it validates what you are capable of, and our guys I thought tonight were really good defensively against a high-powered offensive team,” Bickerstaff said. “Obviously, Embiid(42 points) is a handful, Ben Simmons(24 points), obviously, All-Star caliber player. I thought our guys did a really good job defensively.”

To beat a team like Philadelphia, you have to fight, and Cleveland showed that fight and grit, which Garland discussed after the game.

“We’re just growing every day,” he said. “Every opportunity we get, we’re going to take the opportunity to take the challenge. I think that’s one thing about our team; we are going to fight most of the time.”

Adversity can bring the best out of teams, and it appears the Cavaliers have grown from the adversity, and while losing ten consecutive games is never good, it might have been what the Cavs needed to turn things around. 

Wizards’ Westbrook could average a triple-double this season

On Wednesday, Russell Westbrook made his Wizards’ debut on the road against the 76ers, and while he had a triple-double(21 points, 15 assists, 11 rebounds), Washington(0-1) would fall to the 76ers(1-0) 113-107.

The 32-year-old Westbrook, who came over to Washington from Houston in the trade that sent John Wall to the Rockets earlier this month, was disappointed in himself after the game.

“Not good enough. Honestly, I’m kind of disappointed in myself,” Westbrook said. “I had some mishaps and plays where I could have been better and had a better game to try to win. I don’t like moral victories at any point in my career. I always like to go out and try to win the game. I’ve gotta be better, and I’ll be better next game.”

Last season, moral victories were acceptable for the Wizards, who won only 25 games a year ago. However, this year is a different story. With Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and Davis Bertans on the court, Washington is looking to make the playoffs, and like Westbrook, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is not interested in moral victories.

“The results matter. We’re not happy. There’s no moral victories,” Brooks said. “Last year, I thought we had just a different mindset. Not good or bad, we were just in a different place. This year, there are no moral victories. We have to come out and keep competing.”

Washington played well against the 76ers and had a legitimate chance to win the game, but they could not make the plays and get the stops down the stretch to get the victory.

In a loss, it’s clear that this team is going to put up points. Beal, who led the way with 31 points against Philadelphia, averaged 30.5 ppg last season. Also, Bertans scored 14 points, including 4-6 from downtown. He would only play 20 minutes, which was due to him being on a minutes restriction. So, scoring points won’t be an issue for Washington, especially when the team starts to gel.

On another note, we might be seeing a lot of triple-doubles out of Westbrook this season. The 12-year veteran is second in NBA history in triple-doubles(147). According to Elias Sports Bureau, Westbrook is the 6th player in NBA history with a triple-double in his team debut. With all the scoring they have on this team, Washington could offer Westbrook an opportunity for many assists. Furthermore, without a big-time rebounder on this roster(Thomas Bryant led the team with 7.2 RPG last season), Westbrook will get his rebounds, and he’s most definitely going to score. Based on this roster, if Westbrook remains healthy, he might mess around and average a triple-double this season for the fourth time in his career.

Ex-76er Ish Smith talks Sam Hinkie, ‘The Process,’ Philly fans, how playing in Philly helped his career(VIDEO)

 

From 2013-2016, the Philadelphia 76ers were basically put together to lose. The rosters that were constructed by then-GM Sam Hinkie were not very good, and the goal was to lose as many games as possible so that the team could get the best possible picks in the NBA Draft.

In the 2015-16 season, the 76ers were very bad. After 18 games that season, Philadelphia was 0-18, and after 31 games, the 76ers were 1-30, which was perfect for Hinkie and “The Process,” which the 76ers’ rebuilding efforts were called during Hinkie’s time as the team’s general manager. 

With the 76ers struggling at point guard during that 2015-16 season, the team made a move as they acquired PG Ish Smith from the New Orleans Pelicans, who played with Philadelphia the previous season before signing with the Pelicans in 2015.

Smith came in and immediately was a factor for the team. In his first game with the 76ers, Smith led Philadelphia to a road win in Phoenix against the Suns, and in Smith’s first six games with the 76ers, Philadelphia went 3-3, which had some fans concerned. According to Smith, Philly fans were getting mad at him for doing what many fans love, which is winning.

“Everybody was heated,” Smith recently told goforitradio. ‘We got rolling because we had lost so many close games, I remember. We had lost so many close games because we had started off rolling, and all of sudden, we had won like four in a row.”

Even though the 76ers were not a very good team and finished the 2015-16 season 10-72, Smith loved the way the fans supported the team.

“One thing I loved about the Philly fans is they still came out,” Smith said.

Philadelphia would get the number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, and they would get Ben Simmons, who has paid dividends, including being a two-time All-Star and winning Rookie of the Year.

“The Process” has worked to a degree, Philadelphia has won over 50 games the past two seasons, but they have not won a title. However, their two big stars, who were products of “The Process,” Joel Embiid and Simmons, are still young, so they have time.

In terms of Smith, his career has flourished. He signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the Pistons in 2016 before signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the Wizards last offseason. Before the season was suspended, Smith started 19 games for the Wizards and averaged 10.5 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. 

Unfortunately for Hinkie, he would not see “The Process” through, as he resigned during the 2015-16 season after the team brought in Jerry Colangelo as Chairman of Basketball Operations. To date, Hinkie has not gotten another job as a team executive in the NBA.

Hate it or love it, the 76ers’ success today, and Smith’s opportunities in the league may not have been possible without “The Process.”

Philadelphia 76ers statement on suspension of NBA season

After Utah Jazz C Rudy Gobert’s positive test for COVID-19(coronavirus), the NBA announced that they had suspended the season on Wednesday. At this point, there is no timetable on when the season will resume.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Philadelphia 76ers put their support behind the league’s decision to suspend the season:

“The Philadelphia 76ers are supportive of the NBA’s decision to suspend the season. The health and well-being of our fans, players, staff members, partners, and communities are of the utmost importance, and we remain in close communication with the NBA, public health, state and local officials in charting a path forward.

“As we navigate the coming weeks, we recognize that our staff members are family and the heartbeat of the organization. As such, we are committed to assisting our arena associates through this period.

“In this time of need, we need to band together and take care of people,” Managing Partner Josh Harris stated. “Our teams, our cities, and the leagues in which we operate are a family, and we are committed to looking out for one another.”

“The 76ers also extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the many talented doctors, nurses, medical professionals, and emergency services personnel who are working tirelessly to address this matter of public health.

“We will provide further updates as soon as possible.”

Shayok scores 26 points in Blue Coats’ win

The Delaware Blue Coats (22-21), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, defeated the Maine Red Claws (28-14), 113-92, on Wednesday afternoon at 76ers Fieldhouse. The Blue Coats swiped 15 steals and held the Red Claws to a season-low 92 points, including just 12 points in the second quarter.

76ers two-way contract player Marial Shayok scored 26 points (9-15 fg, 3-6 3fg, 3-3 ft) for the second-consecutive contest, adding seven rebounds and three steals in 24 minutes for the Blue Coats. Delaware’s Jared Brownridge was a game-high plus-38 in tallying 26 points (8-13 fg, 4-9 3fg, 2-2 ft), four assists and a career-high four steals in 23 minutes of action.

Norvel Pelle, on assignment from the 76ers, nearly registered a double-double with 12 points (5-7 fg, 1-2 ft), eight rebounds and three blocked shots in 21 minutes for the Blue Coats. Zhaire Smith, also on assignment from Philadelphia, added 10 points (3-6 fg, 2-3 3fg, 1-1 ft) and a pair of assists in a game-high 37 minutes.

The Blue Coats led 53-44 at halftime and outscored Maine 52-31 in the second and third quarters combined. Delaware, which led by as many as 34 points in the victory, totaled 24 points on the fast break.

Yante Maten paced the Red Claws with a double-double performance of 23 points (9-18 fg, 1-5 3fg, 3-5 ft) and 12 rebounds, adding four steals in 30 minutes of work. Boston Celtics two-way contract player Tacko Fall secured a double-double of his own with 12 points (6-12 fg) and 14 rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench for the Red Claws. Justin Bibbs posted 17 points (8-13 fg, 1-3 3fg) in 33 minutes as a starter for Maine.

The Blue Coats host the Long Island Nets on Saturday at 7 p.m. at 76ers Fieldhouse.

Zhaire Smih scores G League career-high 24 points in Blue Coats’ loss

The Delaware Blue Coats (21-21), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, fell to the Lakeland Magic (24-17), 129-116, on Sunday afternoon at 76ers Fieldhouse. Zhaire Smith, on assignment from the 76ers, posted a G League career-high 24 points (10-12 fg, 2-3 3fg, 1-2 ft) with two rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes for the Blue Coats.

Jared Brownridge scored 19 of his team-high 27 points (9-17 fg, 7-13 3fg, 1-1 ft) in the first half for Delaware. Today’s performance was Brownridge’s fourth game of the season–and his 10th overall dating back to last season–with seven 3-point field goals made.

76ers two-way contract player Marial Shayok tallied 26 points (11-21 fg, 3-7 3fg, 1-1 ft), eight rebounds and a season-high-tying seven assists in a team-high 37 minutes for the Blue Coats.

The Blue Coats trailed 65-63 at halftime, and were outscored 30-19 in the third quarter. Lakeland began the second half with an 11-0 run. The visitors converted 17 of their 20 free-throw attempts (.850) in the contest.

Lakeland’s Josh Magette posted a career-high 38 points (10-18 fg, 7-13 3fg, 7-7 ft) in a double-double performance that also included 11 assists in 36 minutes of action. Philadelphia native Amile Jefferson notched his sixth consecutive double-double with 31 points (11-18 fg, 7-8 ft) and 16 rebounds in 37 minutes for the Magic. Hassani Gravett (14 points) was a game-high plus-23 in a game-high 38 minutes.

The Blue Coats return to action on Wednesday at 11 a.m. against the Maine Red Claws at 76ers Fieldhouse.

Shayok scores 25 points, Koumadje grabs 24 rebounds in Blue Coats’ win

The Delaware Blue Coats (20-18), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, defeated the Windy City Bulls (16-23), 122-99, on Saturday night at 76ers Fieldhouse. Christ Koumadje notched the 15th double-double of his rookie season with 13 points (6-12 fg, 1-2 ft) and a season-high 24 rebounds in 30 minutes to help the Blue Coats even the season series.

Koumadje’s 24 rebounds match the total for the most rebounds by a player in a single game in the G League this season (Eric Mika, Stockton Kings). Koumadje previously recorded 20 rebounds in an 18 point, 20 rebound and 12 block triple-double at Erie on Feb. 1. The 7-foot-4 center added three blocked shots to bring his season total to a league-leading 124 rejections.

Seven Blue Coats players scored in double figures for the eighth time this season.

76ers two-way contract player Marial Shayok led the way with 25 points (9-16 fg, 4-7 3fg, 2-2 ft), four rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes of action. Jared Brownridge and Justin Robinson combined for 40 points off the Delaware bench. Brownridge netted 21 points (7-10 fg, 5-8 3fg, 1-1 ft) with four rebounds in 22 minutes, while Robinson tallied 19 points (8-11 fg, 1-2 3fg, 1-1 ft), three rebounds and five assists in 23 minutes.

The Blue Coats led 52-40 at halftime and by as many as 26 points late in the fourth quarter. The team improves to 13-4 overall when leading at the break and 18-3 when leading at the start of the fourth quarter. Delaware outrebounded Windy City 52-40 and has now hauled in 50 rebounds or more on 22 occasions.

Jaron Blossomgame secured a double-double for the visiting Bulls with 26 points (11-18 fg, 1-2 3fg, 2-2 ft) and 11 rebounds in a game-high 37 minutes of work. Justin Simon added 21 points (9-23 fg, 2-7 3fg, 1-2 ft), seven rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes for Windy City.

The Blue Coats will embark on a three-game road trip that begins on Monday night at 7 p.m. ET against the Capital City Go-Go. The team then visits the Long Island Nets and Raptors 905 before returning home for a meeting with the Lakeland Magic next Sunday at 2 p.m. ET at 76ers Fieldhouse.

Zhaire Smith scores 17 points in Blue Coats’ loss

The Delaware Blue Coats (19-16), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, fell to the Canton Charge (23-13), 131-115, on Friday night at 76ers Fieldhouse in the team’s first game in eight days. All five Blue Coats starters scored at least 10 points in the contest, with seven total players reaching double figures for the second-straight game.

Justin Robinson led Delaware with 22 points (5-14 fg, 4-8 3fg, 5-5 ft), four rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes. Robinson has now scored 20 points or more in three of the team’s last four games. Haywood Highsmith neared a double-double for the Blue Coats with 18 points (7-12 fg, 3-4 3fg, 1-1 ft) and nine rebounds in a team-high 34 minutes of work. Highsmith posted 10 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter.

Zhaire Smith, on assignment from the 76ers, recorded 14 of his 17 points (7-12 fg, 2-6 3fg, 1-1 ft) in the first half for the home team. Smith added three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 18 minutes of action. 76ers two-way contract player Marial Shayok tallied 16 points (6-19 fg, 1-8 3fg, 2-2 ft), six rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes as a Blue Coats starter.

The Blue Coats trailed 67-58 at halftime and were outscored 34-23 by Canton in the third quarter.

Cleveland Cavaliers two-way contract player Dean Wade paced the visiting Charge with a double-double performance that included a season-high 27 points (11-16 fg, 4-7 3fg, 1-1 ft) and a game-high 16 rebounds over 36 minutes. Sir’Dominic Pointer scored 17 of his career-high 25 points (10-15 fg, 5-8 3fg) in the first half for the visitors, adding five rebounds and four blocked shots in 27 minutes overall. Sheldon Mac was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line and totaled 23 points (4-9 fg, 9-9 ft), five rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes off the Charge bench. Canton converted 15 of its 16 free-throw attempts in the game.

The Blue Coats hit the road for two games in Oshkosh, Wisconsin next week against the Eastern Conference-leading Wisconsin Herd. Tipoff is slated for 8:00 p.m. ET on both Tuesday and Thursday. Delaware returns to 76ers Fieldhouse next Saturday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. ET against the Windy City Bulls.

Suns sign Jonah Bolden to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns today signed forward Jonah Bolden to a 10-day contract. He will join the team and be available to play in tonight’s game vs. Golden State.

Bolden, in his second NBA season, played 48 games including 10 starts with the Philadelphia 76ers over the last two seasons, averaging 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. He played in 10 playoff games during the 76ers’ run to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2019.

The 6-8, 225-pound forward was the 36th overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2017 NBA Draft after playing one season at UCLA and one season with KK FMP in Serbia. A 24-year-old from Melbourne, Australia, Bolden helped Maccabi Tel Aviv to the 2018 Israeli Premier League Championship before joining the 76ers and making his NBA debut.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 17 players.