Doncic, Embiid named NBA Players of the Month

On Tuesday, the NBA announced that Mavericks guard Luka Doncic(Western Conference) and 76ers center Joel Embiid(Eastern Conference) were named Players of the Month for games played in December.

Doncic averaged 35.1 points (.519 FG%, .424 3FG%), 8.5 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 36.3 minutes in 15 games in December. It marked the highest-scoring month in franchise history (min. 10 games played) and the Mavericks went 11-4 in his 15 appearances during the month (11-6 overall).

He tallied a career-high 60 points (21-31 FG, 2-6 3FG, 16-22 FT) to go along with a career-high 21 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and one block in a career-high 47 minutes in Dallas’ 126-121 come-from-behind win over New York on Dec. 27. Doncic became the first player in NBA history to record a 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double and the second player to post a 60-point triple-double of any kind.

Doncic netted 50-plus points three times over his final five games in December, totaling 228 points, 56 boards and 51 assists over that five-game stretch (Dec. 23 to 31). He became the first player in NBA history to total 225-plus points, 50-plus rebounds and 50-plus assists over any five-game run. Dončić also became the first player to record three 50-point games over a five-game span since Harden in January 2019.

The three-time All-Star has totaled 292 points, 77 rebounds and 69 assists during the Mavericks’ current seven-game win streak (41.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 9.0 apg since Dec. 21), which is their longest win streak since their championship season in 2010-11. He is the first player in league history to record 290-plus points, 70-plus rebounds and 60-plus assists over any seven-game stretch.

Embiid dominates

This was Embiid’s fifth career Player of the Month award, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Allen Iverson for the most such honors in 76ers franchise history.

Embiid led the 76ers to a 9-4 record (.692) in the month, including a season-long eight-game win streak from Dec. 9-25. Philadelphia’s .692 winning percentage ranked third in the NBA throughout the month.

The five-time All-Star earned the honor after leading all NBA players in scoring at 35.4 points per contest on .545 shooting from the floor and .417 from three-point range. He and Doncic were the only NBA players to post such numbers in December.

His totals in points (460), rebounds (129) and blocks (23) make him one of four players in league history with such numbers over 13 outings, joining himself (earlier this season), and Hall of Famers Moses Malone, Bob McAdoo and Shaquille O’Neal.

Embiid posted at least 30 points in 10 games, joining Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Iverson as the only 76ers to have double-digit 30-point outings in the month of December. Embiid (twice), Iverson (seven) and Chamberlain (five) are the only 76ers ever to post at least 10 30-point games in any month in franchise history.

Highlighting the month was Embiid’s second 50-plus point game of the season on Dec. 11 against Charlotte. In the win, Embiid posted 53 points on a career-high 20 made field goals, adding 12 rebounds. He’s one of five players in NBA history to post at least four career games of 50 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting at least 60-percent from the field.

Embiid is the first center with multiple 50-point games in a single season since Hall of Famer David Robinson in 1993-94. He is also the first 76er with multiple games of 50-plus points since Iverson had three such contests during the 2004-05 season.

The Cameroon native went on to round out the month with his fifth career triple-double against the Oklahoma City Thunder, making him the eighth 76er to produce five triple-doubles with the team.

76ers’ Rivers on team: ‘They’re starting to visualize what we are, and that’s a good thing’

Before the start of their seven-game homestand, many said this was the point where the Philadelphia 76ers needed to take advantage of these games and make their move in the standings.

After four games, they have just done that, including Friday night’s 118-106 victory over the Golden State Warriors. The 76ers(16-12) have won four straight at Wells Fargo Center and are 10-1 in their last 11 home games.

Joel Embiid led the way with 34 points and 13 rebounds, and James Harden added 27 points, five rebounds, and nine assists.

Philly is getting it done without Tyrese Maxey(foot), and on Friday night, they were without Tobias Harris(back), but despite that, they keep on winning.

“It’s next man up mentality,” Embiid said. “We are missing our best player in Tyrese [Maxey]. Tobias has been great this year. He’s doing his thing, been efficient defensively; he’s been great. When you are missing these types of guys, it’s hard, but I think we have enough talent. Guys like Shake(Milton), Matisse(Thybulle), they’ve been playing really well. Can’t talk enough about De’Anthony [Melton]; he’s been amazing. All of them; D-House, George, Furk, all of those guys are definitely doing their job. I think the main thing is that everyone has bought in

76ers head coach Doc Rivers likes the direction the team is going in right now. 

“We’re healthier; we’re getting there–slowly,” Rivers said. “We’re playing better basketball. We’ve kind of found, and we’re still not there because we need everyone back, but we’re finding who we are. I think our guys are finally seeing like this is who we are; this is how we have to play. They know it. They’re starting to visualize what we are, and that’s a good thing.”

P.J. Tucker, who had seven points and six rebounds, added: “I say the biggest thing is just our energy and effort towards each other, helping each other be successful. I always like saying, like Coach [Erik Spoelstra]’s favorite sayings, “enjoy somebody else’s success,” and I feel like that’s like huge when it comes to the bench, and everybody’s just having that good energy and that good comment towards everybody. I feel like that’s picked up a lot, and everybody’s spirit has gotten better as a team.”

Philadelphia is getting healthier and is starting to look like the team many thought they would be when the season started. They hope to keep the good vibes going on Monday night when they battle the Raptors.

Embiid, Williamson named NBA Players of the Week

Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and 76ers center Joel Embiid were named Western and Eastern Players of the Week for games played December 5-11, the league announced Monday.

Embiid tallied at least 35 points in all three contests throughout the week, extending his streak to an NBA-best four straight games.

In three games played, including a pair of home victories against the Lakers (Dec. 9) and Hornets (Dec. 11), Embiid produced a league-best 43.3 points on .639 shooting, 10.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks. He became the 10th player in league history to average 43.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and a shooting mark of at least 60-percent over a three-game span.

Embiid capped off his week with a 53-point, 12-rebound performance against Charlotte, making him the only player in the NBA this season with multiple games of 50-plus point.

The only 76er with more Eastern Conference Player of the Week Awards than Embiid is Hall of Famer Allen Iverson, who captured the honor 20 times during his time with Philadelphia.

Back to Williamson, he led New Orleans to a 3-0 week, recording averages of 33.0 points (second among Western Conference players), 8.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 37.3 minutes per contest, while shooting 70.4 percent from the field (first in the NBA among players that registered 13.0 or more field goal attempts per game). Williamson finished the week as one of two players in the West to average at least 30 points per game and the only Western Conference player to average at least 30 points and eight rebounds. Williamson also averaged an NBA-best 24.0 points in the paint per game during this stretch.

Williamson’s Player of the Week honor is the first of his career.

Currently, New Orleans(18-8) has the best record in the Western Conference.

 

76ers’ Embiid on final 30 seconds of regulation against Lakers: ‘We were just trying to figure out what the hell was going on’

It would not have been pretty if the Philadelphia 76ers(13-12) lost to the Lakers(10-15) on Friday night. Philadelphia led by as many as 18 points in the fourth; they had a 16-point lead with just under five minutes to go, and the Sixers led by nine points with 34.8 seconds left in regulation.

Then, it got crazy. Philadelphia turned the ball over three times in the final 30 seconds of the game. Ultimately, the Lakers had an opportunity to win it in regulation, but Anthony Davis missed one of two free throws, and the game would go into overtime.

In OT, James Harden would score nine of his 28 points to go along with 12 assists, and Philly would outscore the Lakers 13-2 to win 133-122 at Wells Fargo Center. 

“We will take the win, and one thing that I will say is that usually when you give up a lead like that, to gather yourself and play well in overtime is rare,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “I told our guys that we were very proud of that. Just the mistakes we made down the stretch, very similar to the Houston game; we have to fix that.”

Joel Embiid added: “We were just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Honestly, I think we had a bunch of turnovers, and we should have never been in that position. I’m glad we had another opportunity, and it went to overtime, and we closed it out.”

The first quarter was all about Embiid, who scored 20 of his 38 points in the first quarter. According to Embiid, he wanted to set the tone for the team.

“I tried to send a message to my teammates,” he said. “I often hear a lot about how I’m actually due to be the best offensive player, the best defensive player, playmaking, leadership; it’s a lot to deal with, but you know I like the challenge.”

The third quarter was all about D’Anthony Melton. He scored 16 of his 33 points in the third quarter. In addition, according to Stathead, Melton is the first 76er in franchise history to post 30-plus points, eight-plus three-pointers, and seven-plus steals in a game. He joins Michael Adams as the only NBA players ever to do so in league history. 

“On offense, my teammates were just finding me,” Melton said. “They kept leaving me open, so I just kept shooting it and shooting it with confidence. We got so many guys that draw attention that it opens up space for other players. Tonight, was my night and my teammates kept finding me, and I kept finding the open spot. “

In the future, Philly has to be stronger with the ball. They ended the game with 23 turnovers, and those turnovers almost cost them in the end. Philly’s seven-game homestand, which could help the team string together some wins, continues on Sunday against the Hornets. 

Cavs dominate and defeat 76ers

The Cleveland Cavaliers(14-8) returned home on Wednesday night to face the Philadelphia 76ers(12-10). Following one of the worst performances of the season, where they were beaten in Toronto by the Raptors, Cleveland played one of its better games this season as they dominated and defeated the 76ers 113-85.

The Cavs led by as many as 33 points in this game and were never really threatened after the second quarter by Philadelphia.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the 76ers.

Great:

Second Quarter: This was the best quarter of the season for the Cavs. They were an incredible 16 from 17 from the field(94%), including 5/5 from deep. Evan Mobley, who missed the only shot in the quarter for Cleveland, had 10 points, Donovan Mitchell had nine, and Caris LeVert added eight. Cleveland outscored the 76ers 44-27 and led 69-48 at halftime.

The 44 points in a quarter is a season-high.

Cleveland shot 73% from the field in the first half.

Everybody was Great:

  • LeVert led the way with 22 points off the bench.

  • Garland had 21 points and nine assists.

  • Mitchell had 18 points, including five threes.

  • Mobley added 16 points and eight rebounds.

  • After struggling against Toronto, Isaac Okoro chipped in with 11 points off the pine.

Defensively, they limited the 76ers to 41% shooting and allowed a season-low 85 points.

Shooting: Cleveland shot 61% from the field, including 52% from deep. They were flat out on fire.

Not So Great:

Nothing to see here!!

Bottom Line:

Last season, the 76ers swept the season series from the Cavs(4-0), but Cleveland had a different energy Wednesday night. They really wanted to beat Philadelphia, and it showed.

If it wasn’t apparent, the Cavs are a totally different team at home, and they are 9-1 and look more confident at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

You can argue the 76ers were depleted as they were without James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, but Philly had won three straight and four out of five, so this was an excellent win for the Cavs.

What’s Next:

Cleveland returns Friday at home against the Magic.

Best of the Rest:

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 19 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three steals; Shake Milton added 14 points.

Cedi Osman moved to eighth place on the Cavs’ all-time three-pointers made list(544) on Wednesday.

Junkyard Dog:

Mamadi Diakite, who got the start for an injured Jarrett Allen(back), earned the “Junkyard Dog” award for his performance against the 76ers. He finished the night with six points, four rebounds, and two assists.

Embiid on Nets: ‘It’s another game on the schedule’

The Philadelphia 76ers(8-8) were depleted as they hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves(8-8) on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia was missing its starting backcourt of James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, who were both out due to foot injuries. In addition, they were without Tobias Harris, who missed his second straight game with a hip injury.

“I just felt bad,” Joel Embiid, who had 32 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, said after the loss. “We have three of our best players; Tyrese is one that puts in so much work every single day. Injuries are just something that we can’t control it. It’s just unfortunate. I’ve had my share of them, especially freak injuries. You just can’t control them, so I just felt bad for him because he [TYRESE MAXEY] puts in so much work and takes care of himself. Obviously, missing James to the same thing and Tobias being hurt too. It does suck, but next man up.”

After having a small lead in the first quarter, Philadelphia was chasing Minnesota the rest of the way. The Timberwolves led by as many as 20 points, but the 76ers were able to cut to lead to two in the fourth, and had an opportunity to tie late, but Georges Niang missed a three with 01.2 seconds left, and they fell to Minnesota 112-109.

With the loss, Philly’s three-game winning streak was snapped.

The Timberwolves scored 97 points after three quarters, but Philadelphia went to a zone defense, which was effective and almost brought them all the way back.

“We just hung in there. We kept throwing out the score,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said postgame. “We’re down eight, down seven, down six. That’s how you come back in games. I loved our fight. We had opportunities down the stretch. In the second half, I thought the zone really changed the game for us defensively.”

Embiid added on the defensive effort: “We didn’t play defense for three quarters. In the fourth, we went to zone; they didn’t know what to do and what to run against it. We just didn’t play defense for three quarters, and we put ourselves in a big hole. We were down 15, 20 most of the game. Unfortunately, it was too much to overcome.”

Now, they get a few days off before Ben Simmons, and the Brooklyn Nets come to Philadelphia on Tuesday night. After the loss to Minnesota, Embiid discussed the return of the number one overall pick by the 76ers in the 2016 NBA Draft.

“It’s another game on the schedule,” Embiid said. “I don’t know those guys; I have nothing against those guys. It’s Brooklyn against Philly. Hopefully, I feel better for that game. It’s the same goal—try go out and win. Obviously, we’re down a lot of guys right now, so we have to find ways. Tonight I wasn’t as dominant as I should have been. So, if I do feel better, I plan on trying to do whatever is possible to get that win. There’s a lot of history, but there’s really no history. It’s just a regular game. I know everybody is going to make a lot of drama about everything that’s happened. The people that were here and the people that were, but they’re not even playing. It’s going to be fine.”

Notes:

-Shake Milton, who started in place of Maxey, scored 27 points while hauling in six rebounds.

-In 32 minutes, Niang posted his fourth game of at least 15 points off the bench this season.

-Both the 76ers and Timberwolves had five players in double figures. Anthony Edwards led Minnesota with 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Embiid: ‘It’s all about doing whatever it takes to win a championship’

Joel Embiid had a monster game on Sunday night against the Jazz, and the 76ers needed all of it. Embiid scored a career-high 59 points (19-28 FG, 20-24 FT) to go with 11 rebounds, eight assists, and seven blocks as the 76ers defeated the Jazz 105-98 at Wells Fargo Center. 

According to Stathead, Embiid’s 59-point outing is the fifth-highest-scoring game in team history. In addition, he became the first player to reach such totals in the same game since blocked shots became a statistic in 1973-74. 

Embiid scored 26 of the team’s 27 fourth-quarter points and blocked five shots in the quarter. He did it all for Philadelphia.

The points were great, but the blocks and rebounds impressed 76ers head coach Doc Rivers.

I’ve seen guys score a lot of points. I haven’t seen guys score a lot of points, rebound, and then the block shots,” Rivers said after the in. “That was impressive. He was getting everything. I’ve never seen a more dominating performance when you look at both offense and defense.”

Embiid, who had 42 points against the Hawks on Saturday night, has scored 101 points in the last two games. According to the five-time All-Star, it’s all about winning.

“We still have a lot more to accomplish,” he said. “We can talk about whatever tonight, stats and all of that tonight, but that’s not what matters. It’s all about doing whatever it takes to win a championship. That would be the best thing ever. It doesn’t matter if I’m averaging 10 points, 30, or whatever; if we win a championship, that’s all that matters.”

Tyrese Maxey scored 18 points for the 76ers on Sunday night, and what impressed him was seeing Embiid score 59 points on the second half of a back-to-back.

“He’s [Joel Embiid] a soldier,” Maxey said. “He was coming in saying his shoulder was hurting and stuff like that. For him to go out there and play and give it his all is huge. It’s huge for this team and huge for this organization. Your best player, after a 42-point performance last night on a back-to-back, he comes out here and dominates again. Has 59-points and seven blocks and ten boards, and eight assists. Just his presence was really good tonight. He made shots. He made free throws. He’s just good at basketball. It’s that simple.”

This was an exceptional performance by Embiid, but again, most importantly, the 76ers got two big wins over the weekend to even their record at 7-7. It’s still early, but this would be a good time for Philly to start stringing together some wins.

76ers begin season in Boston, battle Knicks on Christmas Day

For the first time since 2019, the Philadelphia 76ers will play on Christmas Day as they travel to Madison Square Garden to battle the Knicks, the team announced Wednesday.

Philadelphia will tip off the NBA season against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Tuesday, Oct. 18, in what will serve as the league’s first game of the new campaign.

The 76ers will be on national television 34 times next season.   

Philly’s home opener will be against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, Oct. 20. In addition, Ben Simmons and the Nets come to Philly on November 22, which should be a lot of fun.

Five of its first seven games are coming against 2021-22 playoff qualifiers. The 76ers will also conclude the regular season with 12 consecutive matchups against playoff teams from the previous year.

Schedule Notes:

  • The NBA announced that no games will be played on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in an effort to focus on promoting and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during midterm elections.

  • Philadelphia will host the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Friday, Dec. 16 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

  • The 76ers will have 17 weekend games (nine Fridays, five Saturdays, three Sundays) at The Center.

  • Philadelphia is slated for 13 sets back-to-back games, four of which will come on the road in March.

  • Also in March, Philadelphia will have 12 away games, marking the most games away from The Center for a single month this season.

  • Philadelphia’s longest road trip of the season runs eight days and five games in length from Jan. 14-21. This includes games against Utah (Saturday, Jan. 14, 10 p.m. ET), the Los Angeles Lakers (Sunday, Jan. 15, 9:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV), the LA Clippers (Tuesday, Jan. 17, 10 p.m. ET, TNT), Portland (Thursday, Jan. 19, 10 p.m., ET), and Sacramento (Saturday, Jan. 21, 10 p.m. ET).

  • The 76ers’ longest homestand of 2022-23 is seven games over 15 days from Dec. 9-23. This stretch includes games against the Lakers (Friday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), Hornets (Sunday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m. ET), Kings (Tuesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m. ET), Warriors (Friday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), Raptors (Monday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m. ET), Pistons (Wednesday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m. ET), and Clippers (Friday, Dec. 23, 7 p.m. ET).22-23_ScheduleRelease

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76ers announce preseason schedule

The Philadelphia 76ers announced their 2022 preseason schedule on Friday, featuring four exhibition games.

The slate begins when the 76ers travel to Brooklyn on Monday, Oct.3, to take on Ben Simmons and the Nets at Barclays Center. 

The team then returns home to face Cleveland on Wednesday, Oct. 5, which will be followed by a second meeting with the Cavaliers at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 10, on the road at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

Philadelphia’s preseason slate wraps up at home against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

The 76ers, led by Joel Embiid, re-signed James Harden, added Danuel House, P.J. Tucker, and D’Anthony Melton in the offseason. Philly hopes to make it to the Eastern Conference finals and NBA Finals for the first time since 2001.

Joel Embiid gets his tough guy

At the end of last season, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid wanted the 76ers to find a tough guy, and he mentioned P.J. Tucker.

Here’s what Embiid had to say after losing to Heat in the second round of the playoffs:

“When you have size and toughness, you look at someone like P.J. Tucker,” Embiid said. “A great player, but it’s not about him knocking down shots. It’s about what he does, whether it’s on the defensive end or rebounding the ball.”

Well, wish long and hard, and your dreams might come true.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the 37-year-old Tucker is finalizing a three-year, $33.2 million fully guaranteed deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 11-year veteran, who won a title in Milwaukee in 2021 before joining the Heat last season, averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 41% from deep in the 2021-22 season. 

“This team is good enough to compete head-to-head with anybody in the league, and I’m going to come in here and do whatever I can to help get us to that next level,” Tucker said via a release from the team announcing the move.. “Philly fans demand greatness and it will be up to us to get to where we need to be in order to accomplish our goals. I’m excited to get to work.”

Tucker can guard multiple positions and is the tough guy Philly needs to compete in the ever-tough Eastern Conference. 

In addition to Tucker, Philly added free agent guard/forward Danuel House, who, according to The Athletic’s Sham Charania, agreed to a deal with the team. Last season, the 29-year-old House spent time with the Rockets, Knicks, and Jazz. In 42 games, House averaged 5.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per contest.

Also, the 76ers added guard Trevelin Queen, the reigning G League MVP, who finished fifth in scoring at 25.3 points per game while leading the G League in steals with an average of 3.2. Queen helped Rio Grande Valley capture the 2022 NBA G League title.

In 19 games (all starts) with the Vipers, the 25-year-old Queen also averaged 6.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 35.0 minutes per contest.

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