Tagged in: Philadelphia 76ers

Mike D’Antoni tells Houston Rockets he won’t return as coach

Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has informed the franchise that he’s becoming a coaching free agent and won’t return to the Rockets next campaign, D’Antoni told ESPN on Sunday.

“It’s with tremendous sadness and gratitude that my wife Laurel and I announce that our incredible journey in Houston has ended for now and that we’ll be moving to a new chapter,” D’Antoni told ESPN in a statement.

D’Antoni, whose contract expired with the end of Houston’s season in the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday, turned down extension offers prior to the season. He will be considered among a group of candidates for the Philadelphia 76ers coaching opening, sources tell ESPN.

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D’Antoni was 217-102 in his four campaigns as Rockets coach, advancing once to the Western Conference finals and three times to the conference semifinals.

D’Antoni, a two-time NBA Coach of the Year, led the Rockets to the highest winning percentage in the Western Conference over the last four years (.682), trailing only the Toronto Raptors (.695) in the entire league.

Only the Golden State Warriors (46), Boston Celtics (33), and Raptors (31) have more playoff triumphs than the Rockets (28) in D’Antoni’s four-year run in Houston.

The Athletic reported Sunday morning D’Antoni had not “completely ruled out the possibility of a return.” None of these answers or reports were definitive and the reports all season were that D’Antoni wasn’t likely to stay in Houston.

For the Rockets, it will be difficult to find a replacement that is on par with the impact that Mike D’Antoni provides. He has been key in James Harden emerging as a superstar and that’s why the former MVP expressed he wanted D’Antoni to be brought back.

It’s early in the process but the Rockets have been linked to Jeff Van Gundy as a potential candidate. He has been in the broadcast booth for years as he last coached in the NBA in 2007 when he was in Houston. There should be plenty of other candidates to enter the mix, too.

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Ben Simmons likely out for season

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is likely to miss the rest of the campaign, sources tell ESPN.

Simmons will have a loose body removed from his left knee in the coming days, the team informed Saturday.

Only a deep Sixers playoff run could keep a fleeting hope of his return alive this season, sources said. Even then, his return from the procedure — expected to take place outside of the Disney campus in the coming days — is largely expected to come next season.

The Sixers are preparing now for a postseason run that will come without Simmons, one of the league’s most talented and versatile weapons.

The loose body was a result of a left patella subluxation suffered in Wednesday’s triumph over the Washington Wizards. A subluxation of the patella means that the kneecap popped out of place but returned on its own. The Sixers had moved Simmons to the power forward spot, and now the team’s offensive focus turns fully to All-Star center Joel Embiid.

The Sixers will suffer considerably on the defensive end without Simmons, and offensively they’ll count on a lineup of shooting surrounding Embiid that could give him more room to operate around the basket.

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The injury also means the return of Al Horford in Philadelphia’s starting lineup.

Horford had been replaced in the starting five by guard Shake Milton when Simmons was shifted to power forward after the Sixers arrived in Orlando, but now is back starting next to Embiid.

The Sixers have struggled to maximize the talents of both big men when they have shared the court together since signing Horford as a free agent last summer. That has led Brown to try to limit the amount of time they were going to play together moving forward. Now he has little choice but to try to make it work.

Horford started next to Embiid and played quite well in Philadelphia’s 108-101 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday, finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes. “We need [Horford] more than we’ve ever needed him,” Brown said afterward.

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Sixers´ Joel Embiid returns from injury against Warriors

The Philadelphia 76ers held serve at home versus the Golden State Warriors 115-104 on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 24 points and 10 rebounds in his first game back after missing nine matches with a torn radial collateral ligament in his left hand.

All five 76ers starters scored in double digits. Big man Al Horford was two assists shy of a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight dimes. 

Raul Neto dropped 19 points off the bench, all in the first half.

Philadelphia led by only four points heading into the final quarter, but Embiid keyed a 9-0 run to start the fourth with a pair of buckets and an assist. Philadelphia never led by fewer than seven from that point forward. 

The match was the first in Philadelphia since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Maria died Sunday along with seven others in a helicopter accident.

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The 76ers paid a pregame tribute by holding a moment of silence and sounding a bell nine times.

In what has became a leaguewide norm since Sunday, the two teams started the game with an eight-second backcourt violation and a 24-second shot clock violation in honor of Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys.

Embiid paid tribute to the former Laker for the night by changing his jersey number from 21 to Bryant’s 24, which he wore in the latter half of his career.

Bryant was born in Philadelphia and played high school basketball at Lower Merion High School in nearby Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

For the Warriors, D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with 28 points. Draymond Green added a near-triple-double with nine points, 12 assists and nine boards.

The 31-17 Sixers have won six of their last seven. The 10-38 Warriors lost their fourth consecutive.

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76ers top Celtics in 1st battle of East Favorites

Joel Embiid was popped in the mouth by an elbow that drew blood, rattled teeth, and stunned the Sixers’ big man.

Embiid shook off the knock after a short stint on the bench, then Philadelphia took off and secured the first round in a bruising matchup between two teams expected to fight for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Embiid had 15 points and 13 rebounds, Ben Simmons scored 24 points and the 76ers beat the Boston Celtics 107-93 on Wednesday night.

The season opener had a May feel from the opening tip.

Boston and Philly roughed up each other, combining for more than 60 fouls. They each showed off their prized free agent assets.

But it was the Sixers who turned in a leading fourth quarter.

”It felt like a playoff atmosphere, already,” Philadelphia guard Josh Richardson said. ”It was ready to pop from the jump.”

Philly’s superstars can only do so much, and the other Sixers were clutch in the fourth when they needed them. Furkan Korkmaz and Tobias Harris buried consecutive 3-pointers – after the Sixers had missed 21 of 24 through three quarters – to stretch the lead to 10.

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Even without that scrutinized jumper in play, Simmons was smooth and sensational as he attacked the hoop for easy baskets. He used a nifty spin move in the paint to hit Kyle O’Quinn for a basket that made it 90-74. The packed house went wild as the backups, a weak spot in the postseason, put the Sixers on the decisive run. Simmons also had nine assists and eight rebounds, though he played his 161st career game without a 3.

”I’m skilled, I’m gifted, I’m pretty good at what I do,” Simmons said.

Gordon Hayward guided the Celtics with 25 points. Jayson Tatum had 21.

Kemba Walker scored 12 points on 4-of-18 shooting in his Boston debut, and Al Horford had 16 points in his first game with the 76ers. Horford spent the last three seasons with the Celtics and was one of the few defenders that gave Embiid fits. Horford signed a four-year deal to come to Philly and quickly became a popular teammate. Walker was signed to a four-year, $141 million deal, the most Boston could offer, but $80 million less than the Charlotte Hornets could have paid him over five seasons.

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New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers

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New York Knicks (12-14) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (1-26)
Wells Fargo Center (7:00 pm)

The New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers will be facing off for the second time this season tonight
The New York Knicks will look to keep their winning streak alive tonight when they travel to take on the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. It will be the second time this season that the two teams face off, as the Knicks won the first matchup 99-87. That time the game was at Madison Square Garden; this time it will be at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly.

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The New York Knicks need a big road win after splitting their last eight games. The New York Knicks are averaging 97.7 points on 42.6 percent shooting and allowing 99.3 points on 43 percent shooting. Carmelo Anthony is averaging 21.7 points and 7.5 rebounds while Arron Afflalo is averaging 13.6 points and 1.7 assists. Kristaps Porzingis is grabbing 8.3 rebounds and Langston Galloway is dishing 2.1 assists. The New York Knicks are shooting 33.9 percent from beyond the arc and 80.7 percent from the free throw line. The Knicks are allowing 30.4 percent shooting from deep and are forcing 11.5 turnovers per game. The New York Knicks have lost five of their last six road games.

The Philadelphia 76ers need a victory in order to snap an eight-game skid. The Philadelphia 76ers are averaging 91.1 points on 41.6 percent shooting and allowing 104.2 points on 45.6 percent shooting. Jahlil Okafor is averaging 17.8 points and 8.1 rebounds while Robert Covington is averaging 13.7 points and 1.9 assists. Isaiah Canaan is dishing 2.1 assists while Jerami Grant is grabbing 4.8 rebounds. The Philadelphia 76ers are shooting 32.5 percent from beyond the arc and 69.9 percent from the free throw line. The 76ers are allowing 35.9 percent shooting from deep and are forcing 14.5 turnovers per game. The Philadelphia 76ers have lost 20 of their last 26 home games. Nerlens Noel is questionable with an eye injury.

The Knicks are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games playing on 1 days rest and 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 road games. The 76ers are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 home games and 0-7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The Knicks are 9-3 ATS in the last 12 meetings in Philadelphia.

Game Notes:

  • The last time they met, the Sixers had just beaten the Lakers for their first (and only) win of the season. New York prevailed, 99-87, although Philadelphia was without center Jahlil Okafor. The No. 3 overall pick leads all rookies in scoring (17.8 PPG) and is third in rebounding (8.1 RPG) behind Porzingis and Towns.
  • Okafor returned from a team-imposed suspension and has shown improvement in one key area of weakness — free throw shooting. The Duke big man has converted 22 of his last 24 attempts from the charity stripe after shooting just 51 percent in college.
  • Tony Wroten and Kendall Marshall have returned from injury, giving Brett Brown two experienced options at point guard. Okafor could stand to benefit from their playmaking abilities, as could Philly shooters, who have combined to make 32 percent of 3-pointers this year — 25th best in the NBA.

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Dallas Mavericks vs Philadelphia 76ers

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The 76ers (0-10) will begin a string of two straight games at The Center, pairing up with the Dallas Mavericks (6-4) at 7:00 PM on Monday.  The Sixers are in the midst of a stretch during which they go up against six straight opponents that currently hold winning records.  Dallas, having won three contests in a row, seems to have steadied itself after a 3-4 start.

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The big guns sat out Dallas’ last game, a win over the Houston Rockets, but Dirk NowitzkiWesley Matthews, and Chandler Parsons all figure to be in action against Philly.

Parsons plans to play 20 minutes in this one, as he continues to work his way back from offseason knee surgery. He looked good in his last outing, going 4-6 from the field in 18 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers. 20 minutes would be the most Parsons has played in a game this season, and any addition to his workload is a positive sign looking ahead to a rough next few weeks of the schedule.

The 76ers will also have their hands full with Nowitzki. He was 7-8 for 21 points in 20 minutes of action in one game against Philly last season, a 53-point Mavericks victory just over one year ago. The Sixers will use some combination of bigs against Dirk headlined by Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Realistically, neither stands much of a chance against the future Hall of Famer in one-on-one situations. Especially the way Dirk has had it going in the early part of the schedule.

These two meet for what will be their first head-to-head battle of the season. Dallas won the last game in the matchup, bumping its SU record over the last 10 meetings to 8-2. With a 5-4-1 record, the Mavericks also have the advantage ATS.

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