Sixers Notes: Lowry, Embiid, Covington, Bamba, Harris

Kyle Lowry had some extra motivation on Monday night as he faced the Heat for the first time since they traded him in January, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Miami sent Lowry to Charlotte in that deal, and after a buyout, he signed with his hometown Sixers shortly before the All-Star break. Coach Nick Nurse noticed a difference in the veteran guard as he prepared for his 12th game with his new team.

“I don’t know if it’s for (the Heat) or he’s finally starting to settle in,” Nurse said. “He was being a little ornery at shootaround today, and he hasn’t been yet. So it looks like he’s getting back to more of himself there.”

Lowry played an important role in Monday’s victory, Pompey notes, burying a three-pointer with 3:09 remaining in the game to give Philadelphia a 93-87 lead, then converting a reverse layup to push the margin back to six points with 1:36 left. He scored 16 points, his high in a Sixers uniform, and said he’s feeling more comfortable after a long layoff in the middle of the season.

“Nick said it to me today, he said ‘welcome back’ a little bit before in the morning,” Lowry said. “But I think it’s just one of those things I understand what our team needs sometimes. I’m not trying to overstep boundaries. I’m trying to help my teammates. And I know one thing about coach, he’s going to always let me be me. He trusts me and I trust him.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers are just 12-22 without Joel Embiid, who’s recovering from meniscus surgery, and Monday marked the third time this season they’ve won two straight games without their starting center, Pompey adds. Although the team remains optimistic that Embiid can return sometime next month, Tyrese Maxey said it’s also important to establish an identity without him. “Going into the NBA season you don’t plan to not have somebody,” Maxey said. “I mean, especially an MVP like Jo. So once you get into that situation, you have to kind of reconstruct things. Reconstruct minutes, reconstruct rotations and all of that takes time.”
  • Embiid was able to participate in practice Sunday for the first time since hurting his knee, Pompey states in a separate story. Nurse said he was limited to “non-contact stuff,” and a timeline still hasn’t been set for his return. Robert Covington, who has been sidelined since December 30 with a bone bruise in his left knee, also took part in non-contact drills.
  • With Embiid sidelined, Mohamed Bamba has started nine of the last 10 games at center, Pompey notes in another piece. Bamba said it’s easier to get into the flow of the game as a starter. “It’s all about establishing myself early on in the game, defensively,” he said. “When you’re coming off the bench, you kind of have to catch a rhythm as quick as possible. You tend to chase big plays. When you chase big plays, you chase home runs. It tends to either go really well or really bad.”
  • Tobias Harris missed his second straight game on Monday with a sprained right ankle, Pompey tweets.
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