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.
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.
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.
When you’re chasing history, nothing comes easy. But the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team (1-0) knew that coming into Tuesday’s opening contest at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Having already had to wait a year when the Games were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the veteran-led U.S. team wasn’t going to let an early deficit derail its pursuit of a seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal.
Behind A’ja Wilson’s and Brittney Griner’s double-doubles and the formidable presence of Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, the U.S. topped Nigeria (0-1) 81-72 at Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo. It was the 50th consecutive Olympic victory for the U.S., a streak that began when the Americans won bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Not that the players were keeping track.
“We don’t really count them,” Taurasi said. “We have too much respect for all these countries, and we know the next one’s the most important one. I think it’s a great feat. It tells you all the great players and coaches that have come through USA Basketball and just the kind of culture we’ve built.”
Wilson, in her Olympic debut, had 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Griner finished with 13 point and 10 boards. Taurasi, who along with Bird is going after a record fifth gold medal, had 10 first-half points. Though Bird didn’t score, she did have 13 assists and four rebounds. Her 11th assist gave her 100 for her Olympic career.
“Oh, my gosh, I had to get the jitters out in the beginning, but it was a great feeling,” said Wilson, the reigning WNBA MVP with the Las Vegas Aces. “My teammates really helped me kind of calm my nerves and just play my game.”
Next up for the U.S. in Group B is host Japan (1-0), which upset France (0-1) 74-70. Tipoff is Friday at 12:40 a.m. EDT.
Taurasi was back in action for the first time since July 3. A hip muscle strain that kept her out of all three exhibition games in Las Vegas came after she missed more than a month with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury due to a fractured sternum.
“I felt pretty good,” said Taurasi, who was 3-of-6 shooting and had two rebounds in 23 minutes. “If I just keep getting a little stronger, a little bit better and whatever I can do to help, that’s what I’m here for.”
The U.S. came out sluggish, missing its first four shots and turning the ball over four times. The Americans were down 8-1 before Taurasi hit the first USA basket with 6:14 left in the first quarter. That started an 11-0 run, capped by a Jewell Loyd 3-pointer with 4:18 remaining, for a 12-8 lead.
Nigeria — which is ranked 17th in the world and lost to the U.S. 93-62 in a Las Vegas pre-Olympic exhibition — regained the lead at the end of the first quarter on Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah’s 3-pointer.
Neither team shot well in the first quarter, with Nigeria at 23.8% (5-of-24) and the USA at 33.3% (5-of-15). Nigeria went 8-of-10 from the free-throw line, however, while the U.S. committed eight first-quarter turnovers.
“I felt we had to adjust to the style of play that Nigeria was playing,” said U.S. head coach Dawn Staley. “They crowded our space for 94 feet. It took us probably a quarter and a half to really adjust to it. Once we did, we found ourselves just opening up the game.
“But those turnovers lingered throughout the entire game. And sometimes you have to win playing a different style of play, and we certainly had to do that tonight.”
Nigeria then went up 25-20 after Promise Amukamara’s hoop with 8:07 left in the half. That’s when the USA took off on its 23-0 burst and eventual 44-32 advantage at halftime. The Americans got out into transition in the second quarter, which helped them convert 68.8% (11-of-16) of their shots.
The Americans opened the second half on a 14-4 run to create a cushion. Nigeria stayed aggressive and went on a 12-0 run to pull within 75-67 with 3:20 left, but the U.S. rattled off the next six points to end the comeback threat.
“We know that basketball is a game of runs, so at the end of the day, we just had to be consistent in what we were doing and get us back, keep doing what got us the lead,” Wilson said. “Sometimes you kind of mentally fatigue, but then we snapped back, and we got back in it.”
By playing in her 33rd Olympic game Tuesday, Taurasi took sole possession of the Taurasi took sole possession of the overall women’s Olympic basketball record.
“It’s just lucky, you know?” Taurasi said of her longevity. “You put all those years in all those camps and you never think that you’ll be able to play so many. For one, I’m lucky enough. It’s just being around a really good group of people, from USA Basketball management to players and coaches, just really lucky, really fortunate.”
Photo/article courtesy: Team USA
On Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls(23-33), the Cleveland Cavaliers(20-36) got a little taste of playoff basketball. Cleveland, who was 2.5 games behind the Bulls for the 10th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs coming into this game, hoped to gain some ground.
Chicago was without their leading scorer Zach LaVine(health and safety protocols) and had lost five straight, so it appeared that Cleveland had a great chance to get the victory.
However, the Bulls got 25 points from Nikola Vucevic and defeated the Cavaliers 106-96 at United Center to snap their five-game losing streak.
All five starters scored in double-figures for Cleveland, led by Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, who both had 22 apiece.
Cleveland led 49–47 at halftime, but things fell apart in the third quarter. The Cavaliers were outscored 33-21 in the quarter and allowed the Bulls to shoot 60% from the field. Chicago would lead by as many as 16 points in the third and would take an 80-70 lead into the fourth.
Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes the third quarter is what sunk the Cavs.
“To me, the third quarter was most important,” Bickerstaff said after the game. “We dug ourselves a hole. We didn’t come out with the energy that we needed. Too many lackadaisical errors and mistakes… We gave them too many opportunities tonight.”
Garland added on Cleveland’s third-quarter woes: “We’ve been dealing with this all year. We still haven’t figured a way to turn up our energy in the third quarter.”
Cleveland did battle back in the fourth quarter and cut the lead to three with just over three minutes left in the contest. Kevin Love had an opportunity to tie the game but missed a three with just under three minutes to go. Chicago went on a 10-3 run to close out the game.
Love has played in and won many meaningful games in his career, including winning a Game 7 in the 2016 NBA Finals. According to Love, games like this will hurt but will be good for the young Cavaliers.
“I want it to be painful for them,” Love said. “A lost opportunity like that, it should hurt… You want it to be learning experiences, and sometimes those learning experiences can pull on your heart and be very painful. It’s a major factor for growth.”
Cleveland will travel to Detroit to play the Pistons on Monday night before returning home to face the Bulls on Wednesday night.
The backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland came through for the Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Garland scored 18 of his career-high-tying 25 points in the first half, and Sexton scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers(15-25) defeated the Celtics(20-20) 117-110 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to snap their four-game losing streak.
“They were both awesome in terms of looking for their own shots and in looking to get us our shots,” Larry Nance Jr. said about Sexton and Garland. “It was a complete performance for those guys tonight.”
Sexton and Garland scored almost half the team’s points(54 points) last night, and when those two are flowing, Cleveland is tough to beat.
“I just really wanted to come out aggressive,” Garland said after the game. “Last night, I was not as aggressive as I usually be, so I just wanted to come out and play my game and be more aggressive.”
Rookie Isaac Okoro also came up big for the Cavaliers, especially in the fourth quarter. Okoro scored seven points of his 15 points in the quarter, including an emphatic jam, plus the foul that pretty much put the game away.
According to Garland, who got the assist on that play, he knew Okoro would do something special when he got the ball.
“When I gave it to him, I knew he was going to punch that,” Garland said. “That was the backbreaker right there. “That got the crowd up on their feet. That got us up on our feet. We knew it was game after that. We just had to get a couple of stops, and it was over with.”
Cleveland continues their four-game homestand on Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs, who the Cavs will play for the first time this season.
Home has been good for Cleveland of late. The Cavs are 3-1 in their last four games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, scoring at least 110 points and shooting over 50% from the field in every contest over that stretch.
The Delaware Blue Coats got revenge against the Raptors 905 on Tuesday night, and more importantly, Delaware is one game away from winning an NBA G League title.
Behind 76ers two-way contract player Paul Reed, who posted a double-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks, and Isaiah Joe’s 24 points, the Blue Coats defeated the Raptors 905, 127-100 in the G League semifinals at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.
Delaware will meet the Lakeland Magic on Thursday at 4:30 pm ET(ESPN2) in the NBA G League Finals.
The Blue Coats dished out 36 assists against Raptors 905, their highest assist total for any game this year, including the regular season. Delaware also had 17 steals as a group, which is also a season-high mark.
Toronto 905 routed the Blue Coats 138-107 in the regular season, and they evened the score against them on Tuesday, and they will have the same opportunity against Lakeland, who defeated the Blue Coats 115-107 in the regular season.
“The thing is lining up pretty good, where Toronto got us pretty good in the middle of the season, and we had a chance to kind of redeem ourselves here,” Blue Coats head coach Connor Johnson said. “Lakeland got us. We played a poor first half in the regular season. Now, we got one chance to play for the most important one at the end.”
Just as they did to start the season when they won seven straight, Delaware is playing some good basketball right now, and having Joe, who is on assignment from the 76ers, around elevates this team. He’s a weapon, and if he continues to shoot at this level(12 three-pointers made in the last two games), the Blue Coats will probably capture their first G League title.
Photo: Juan Ocampo (NBAE via Getty Images
The Delaware Blue Coats (6-0), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, defeated the Long Island Nets (2-4), 130-127, on Friday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida. The Blue Coats made a G League season-high 21 three-pointers (14 in the first half) for the second straight game and remain the league’s only unbeaten team.
Jared Brownridge paced the Blue Coats with a game-high 29 points (9-13 FG, 7-11 3FG, 2-3 FT) in 33 minutes off the bench. His seven three-pointers are tied for the most in a single G League game this season. 76ers two-way contract player Paul Reed delivered his sixth consecutive double-double to begin the season with 23 points (9-12 FG, 3-3 3FG, 1-1 FT), 10 rebounds, two steals and three blocks in 26 minutes before fouling out.
Jordan Bone came off the Delaware bench to score 21 points on 6-13 shooting from the field, 3-5 from three-point range and a perfect 5-5 from the free-throw line. 76ers two-way contract player Rayjon Tucker tallied 18 points (6-10 FG, 2-4 3FG, 2-2 FT), three rebounds and a game-high-tying seven assists in 33 minutes as a starter.
Six Blue Coats scored in double figures for the third straight game. Defensively, they recorded a season-high 10 blocked shots. Justin Robinson and Ivan Rabb joined Reed with three blocked shots each.
Long Island also had three players post 20-plus points, led by Jeremiah Martin’s 25 points (9-16 FG, 1-2 3FG, 3-3 FT), eight rebounds and game-high-tying seven assists. Brooklyn Nets two-way contract player Reggie Perry notched a double-double with 24 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in a team-high 33 minutes. BJ Johnson scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half.
The Blue Coats shot .622 (28-45) from the field and .667 (14-21) from three-point range in the first half en route to a 76-57 halftime lead. The Nets later outscored Delaware 37-24 in the fourth quarter.
UP NEXT: The Blue Coats will take on the Austin Spurs on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. The Spurs are 5-1 heading into their Saturday night matchup against the Westchester Knicks. The Delaware-Austin game on Sunday can be seen locally on DETV Channel 28 and heard on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM.
Photo: Chris Marion (NBAE via Getty Images)