Good morning, 76ers fans. The trade deadline is over, and the Sixers keep winning. They won their fourth in a row, and 10th in their last 11, Thursday night with a 109-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.
More impressive is that they have prospered while four-time All-Star Joel Embiid is sidelined.
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Winning without Embiid
Remember when the narrative suggesting that the Sixers couldn’t win without Embiid was accurate? Earlier in the season, the Sixers were 1-5 in the games he missed. The Sixers won the game after the All-Star break against Chicago that Embiid missed because of health and safety protocols (contact tracing).
He then suffered a bone bruise in his left knee during the next game, a 127-101 win in Washington on March 12, and remains sidelined with the injury.
Since the All-Star break, the Sixers are 7-1 without Embiid. The lone loss was a 109-105 overtime defeat against a surging Milwaukee Bucks team.
All told this season, the Sixers are 8-6 without Embiid. In addition, the 127-105 win at Chicago after the break came without Embiid and fellow All-Star Ben Simmons, also out because of contact tracing. The Sixers then earned a 129-105 home win over Sacramento last Saturday, also without both Embiid and Simmons.
The Sixers also won three in a row with Seth Curry out with a sprained left ankle. Curry returned against the Lakers and scored 19 points.
While the Sixers don’t want to get used to winning without one or both of their All-Stars, it seems to have given them increased confidence.
“I think each game we have gained more and more confidence, even guys who don’t get to play (much) like Paul Reed out there today,” said Danny Green, who scored a game-high 28 points Thursday.
Reed, recently named rookie of the year and MVP of the G League with the Delaware Blue Coats, contributed four points, three rebounds and a steal in 8 minutes, 56 seconds against the Lakers.
In this condensed, 72-game NBA season, many teams have lost players to injury and/or health and safety protocols. The Lakers were without LeBron James and Anthony Davis against the Sixers. Los Angeles has lost three in a row without both of their All-Stars.
It’s not easy winning in the NBA, especially without one or more All-Stars. The Sixers are doing better than treading water in Embiid’s recent absence.
“Each game, it is a different level of confidence now than it was before when Joel was out,” Green said.
Keith Pompey has all the info on the Sixers’ acquisition of George Hill.
David Murphy says the Sixers improved themselves at the trade deadline, and balanced the chance to get even better now with being weakened in the future.
Pompey details the Sixers’ win over the Lakers.
Pompey explores whether there’s a balance between playing well and staying healthy for the Sixers and NBA teams.
Marcus Hayes explains why Doc Rivers is the Coach of the Year favorite.
Green among select group earning three titles with three teams
Green and Dwight Howard received their championship rings from last season before Thursday’s win over the Lakers.
Winning the NBA title put Green in select company. He is one of four NBA players who have won three titles with three teams. The others are LeBron James, John Salley and Robert Horry, according to Landofbasketball.com.
Here is a look at the four players and their championships won
Robert Horry (7): Houston (1993-94, 1994-95); L.A. Lakers (1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02); San Antonio (2004-05, 2006-07).
LeBron James (4): Miami (2011-12 and 2012-13); (Cleveland (2015-16); L.A. Lakers (2019-20).
John Salley (4): Detroit (1988-89, 1989-90); Chicago (1995-96); L.A. Lakers (1999-2000).
Danny Green (3): San Antonio (2013-14); Toronto (2018-19); L.A. Lakers (2019-20).
Saturday: Sixers at Los Angeles Clippers, 10 p.m. Staples Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia/NBA TV
Tuesday: Sixers at Denver Nuggets, 9 p.m., Ball Arena, NBA Sports Philadelphia/NBA TV
Thursday: Sixers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m., Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, NBC Sports Philadelphia
April 3: Minnesota Timberwolves at Sixers, 8 p.m. Wells Fargo Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus
April 4: Memphis Grizzlies at Sixers, 7 p.m. Wells Fargo Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia
Passing the rock
Question: Why didn’t (the Sixers) try harder for (Kyle) Lowry? — Carol VanLiew on Twitter (@C_VanLiew)
Answer: Thanks for the question, Carol. Actually, I think that the Sixers tried hard for Lowry but simply felt the price was too high for somebody who turned 35 on Thursday and can be a free agent at the end of the season.
The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported that the Raptors wanted the Sixers to include second-year defensive stopper Matisse Thybulle, rookie first-round pick Tyrese Maxey, and two draft picks in a package for Lowry. As Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said during a Thursday night press conference, “We also kept all our important assets to upgrade the team going forward.”
Morey has shown that he’s not afraid to make a big deal, but he simply felt he was sacrificing too much of the future. He thinks he improved the Sixers by acquiring veteran point guard George Hill while keeping a team with the best record in the Eastern Conference largely intact.
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