Seth Curry

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Rivers, Morey, Curry

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers defended the way he uses Ben Simmons after the team dropped Game 5 against the Hawks Wednesday night, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

Philadelphia had a massive meltdown as a 26-point lead slipped away, and Simmons played a significant role, missing key free throws down the stretch and shooting just 4-of-14 from the line for the game. After talking about the need to be more aggressive, he took just four shots from the field Wednesday, finishing with eight points and nine assists.

Simmons is a miserable 22-of-67 on foul shots during the playoffs, and Atlanta has been taking advantage by intentionally fouling him. As a result, Rivers had to sit Simmons down for several important possessions late in the fourth quarter. That takes the Sixers’ best passer and defender off the court and leaves the team with unfamiliar lineups.

“Do you want to do that?” Rivers said. “The answer would be no. But, you know, when Ben makes ’em, we get to keep him in, when he doesn’t, we can’t. And that’s just the way it is.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Rivers and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey both deserve blame for some of the team’s flaws that are being exposed this series, Bodner adds. Rivers continues to give important minutes to a reserve unit that hasn’t been effective, Bodner notes, while Morey failed to find an alternative backup center to Dwight Howard, who is a bad matchup against spread offenses.
  • The Sixers, who also blew an 18-point lead in Game 4, are searching for answers on why they can’t hold on to a big advantage, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Tobias Harris believes the team loses focus once it gets in front by a comfortable margin. “The weakness right now is when we gain those leads, we kind of go away from what got us there,” Harris said. “That was playing defense, moving the basketball, getting some good looks. And that’s hurt us the last two games.”
  • Seth Curry never lost confidence in his shot, even as he struggled to find a place in the NBA, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball News. Curry had one of the best games of his career Wednesday, posting 36 points, three rebounds, seven three-pointers and two steals in the Game 5 loss.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Milton, Simmons, Curry

Joel Embiid didn’t get the MVP trophy he thought he deserved, so he turned his attention back to the pursuit of an NBA title, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Shortly before the start of Tuesday’s game, Denver’s Nikola Jokic was announced as this year’s MVP, with Embiid finishing a distant second. The Sixers center responded to the news with 40 points and 13 rebounds in a Game 2 win over Atlanta.

“It’s disappointing because as a player, you work hard for moments like this,” Embiid said. “But then again, it’s out of my control. There’s nothing I can do about it. You just got to come out every year and just be ready and do my job. But I’m focused on the playoffs, I’m focused on winning the championship. … So I’m not worried about those awards and stuff. If and when I’m holding that (Larry O’Brien) Trophy, anything else won’t matter.”

Embiid has been dominant in the first two games against the Hawks, averaging 39.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks per game despite dealing with a small meniscus tear in his right knee that he suffered in round one. He admits having “limited mobility,” but said he’s found ways to adjust his game to still be effective.

“No excuses,” teammate Tobias Harris said. “He understands that. This is the playoffs. The way the NBA season was, I don’t think anybody is 100%. So when he steps on the floor, he has that attitude and that mentality that it’s, ‘win.'”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • After playing just 38 seconds in the series opener, Shake Milton became a difference maker in Game 2, notes John Schuhmann of The third-year guard came off the bench to score 14 points and help Philadelphia break open a close game.
  • Another low-scoring performance by Ben Simmons is reviving questions about how far the Sixers can advance in the playoffs with minimal production from their second-best player, points out Brad Botkin of CBS Sports. Simmons finished with four points and only took three shots from the field in Game 2.
  • Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic looks at how Seth Curry has been able to rise from his early days in the G League to be an important contributor on a playoff team. Curry, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Mavericks, is averaging 24.0 PPG in his last three games.

Daryl Morey, Sixers Fined For Tampering Violation

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey received a $75K fine on Monday evening for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rules, the league announced in a press release. The 76ers were also hit with a separate $75K fine for the violation.

The NBA explained in its statement that the penalty was a response to a social media post Morey made on June 3 regarding Warriors star Stephen Curry.

Morey, on Twitter, shared a screenshot of an Instagram post in which Curry praised his brother, Sixers sharpshooter Seth Curry, following Seth’s 30-point outburst in Game 5 of the 76ers’ first-round series vs. Washington. Morey added the caption, “Join ’em,” which was widely interpreted as a call for this season’s scoring champ to join his younger brother in Philadelphia.

Morey later responded to his tweet with the following clarification: “My goodness folks I am talking about the fact that we are all thrilled @sdotcurry is here with the @sixers — nothing else.” However, that wasn’t enough to dissuade the NBA from fining both the Sixers and their head of basketball operations.

This is the second time this season that Morey has been fined for a violation of the NBA’s anti-tampering rules. He was also hit with a $50K penalty in December for a tweet about James Harden.

Westbrook, Curry Cleared To Play Tonight

The Wizards will have Russell Westbrook in the lineup for tonight’s Game 3 against the Sixers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Philadelphia’s Seth Curry will also be active, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Westbrook was a game-time decision with a sprained right ankle that he suffered in Game 2. He didn’t practice on Friday, but he made enough progress with the injury that Washington’s medical staff cleared him for tonight.

Curry sprained his left ankle in Game 2 and missed practice as well on Friday, but received clearance just before game time.

Fischer’s Latest: Gordon, Vucevic, Lowry, Redick, Ball, DeRozan

On the eve of the trade deadline, the Nuggets have become the favorites to pry Aaron Gordon away from the Magic, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Denver’s offer would include guard Gary Harris, a first-round pick, and either R.J. Hampton, Zeke Nnaji or Bol Bol.

Although the Nuggets seem to have the momentum, the Celtics are still “very engaged” in the process, according to Fischer. Boston’s proposed deal has involved Marcus Smart and a first-rounder, and it’s possible that a second first-round pick and the Celtics’ $28.5MM traded player exception could be used as well, with Evan Fournier also headed to Boston, says Fischer. Previous reports indicated that the C’s were looking to keep Smart out of the deal, offering a younger player in his place.

The Timberwolves, Rockets and Trail Blazers all remain interested in acquiring Gordon too.

Fischer passes on a few more trade rumors as the deadline draws near:

  • The Celtics are one of the few teams to express interest in trading for center Nikola Vucevic, but the Magic are putting a much higher price on him than Gordon. Orlando is asking for multiple first-round picks and a player who fits with their young core. Fischer expects Vucevic to stay with the Magic.
  • The Clippers, Lakers, Sixers and Heat are all still pursuing Kyle Lowry, but the Raptors‘ high price tag may prevent a deal from getting done. Fischer believes Philadelphia would have to offer two players from the group of Danny Green, Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey, while Miami would need to part with Goran Dragic, another large salary and either Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro. Both Los Angeles teams are limited by their lack of available draft picks.
  • J.J. Redick appears headed for a buyout as the Pelicans haven’t found a team willing to offer draft picks or prospects in return for the veteran guard. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggests a return to the Sixers is possible or maybe a reunion with former teammate Chris Paul on the Suns.
  • The Knicks are interested in Lonzo Ball and have the cap space to keep him in free agency, Pincus adds. The price could be Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and possibly the Mavericks’ 2021 first-round pick.
  • Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan is also high on the Knicks‘ wish list, states A. Sherrod Blakely of Bleacher Report.

Atlantic Notes: Griffin, Nurse, Curry, Toppin

Blake Griffin is close to making his Nets debut, coach Steve Nash told the media on Friday (hat tip to Griffin is traveling with the team on its current road trip. “He looks good, is improving, and is working hard off the floor as well,” Nash said. “I think he is addressing all of the things he needed to address to land safely back in the game and transition into our team, which is not always easy. … He has to adapt to the way that we play, new teammates, new system, and new style.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors coach Nick Nurse hinted that his team’s troubles go beyond COVID-19 related absences, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. With OG Anunoby returning on Friday, the Raptors have all of the players who were under the league’s healthy and safety protocols back in action. Toronto lost to Utah on Friday, its seventh straight defeat, and Nurse seemed to indicate the team needs more help. “We’re getting our (butts) kicked at the rim on both ends, not rebounding,” he said. “I mean the ship has got holes all over the place that we’re trying to patch up.”
  • Sixers guard Seth Curry will miss at least two games due to a sprained left ankle, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. He’ll be re-evaluated after Sunday’s game against New York. Philadelphia plays Sacramento on Saturday.
  • Knicks lottery pick Obi Toppin has seen his playing time drop in recent games, Barbara Barker of Newsday notes. Toppin has played single-digit minutes in his last four outings and has gone scoreless the last three games. Julius Randle has averaged 40 MPG over that stretch, which has led to Toppin’s lack of activity.

Southwest Notes: Curry, Mavs, Murray, Ball, Pelicans

Seth Curry played a key role in the Sixers‘ win over the Mavericks on Thursday, scoring 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and recording a plus-17 rating in his 29 minutes. Asked after the game if playing against the team that traded him away in the fall provided any extra motivation, Curry responded with a smile.

“Nah, never nothing personal, man,” the Sixers guard said, per Jordan Greer of Sporting News. “I got a lot of respect for a lot of those guys over there (with the Mavericks). I just think they made a bad business decision, but it happens all the time, you know what I’m saying? It is what it is.”

Curry’s ability to knock down 3-pointers has been crucial this season for the Sixers, who weren’t getting that same floor spacing from Josh Richardson. Curry has made a career-best 46.8% of his attempts from beyond the arc this season, while Richardson has a career-worst .301 3PT% for the Mavericks.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Spurs guard Dejounte Murray was hit with a $25K fine by the NBA for kicking the game ball into the stands at the end of the team’s loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, the league announced in a press release.
  • After getting off to a slow start this season, Lonzo Ball has played well in his past 20 games, creating a difficult decision for the Pelicans, writes Christian Clark of Moving Ball before the trade deadline would open up more minutes for youngsters Kira Lewis and Nickeil Alexander-Walker and would allow New Orleans to avoid paying Ball in restricted free agency, but it would also mean moving on from an improving 23-year-old point guard who has developed good chemistry with franchise player Zion Williamson.
  • Speaking of Williamson, Clark notes in a separate story that the partnership between the former No. 1 overall pick and Pelicans teammate Brandon Ingram has come a long way. “Our relationship off the court has always been there,” Williamson said. “It’s never been a problem with that. I think when it came to on the court, we wanted to learn each other and certain parts of the game. Now, we just kind of know.”

Atlantic Notes: Rose, Durant, Curry, Williams

Derrick Rose, officially acquired from Detroit by the Knicks on Monday, is eager for his second stint in the Big Apple, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Rose posted his sentiments on his Instagram account. “Other hoopers always used to tell me that if I ever had the chance to play in the MECCA go for it,” Rose wrote. “I’m getting a second chance. … Got to make this one count. But I’m built for it.” Rose played in New York during the 2016/17 season but the previous regime opted not to re-sign him. The former MVP, who is on an expiring contract, was averaging 14.2 PPG and 4.2 APG as Detroit’s sixth man this season.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Kevin Durant isn’t expected to be available until late this week due to contact tracing but Nets coach Steve Nash said lightheartedly that his superstar forward hasn’t registered any positive coronavirus tests, Malika Andrews of ESPN tweets“He’s taken about 90 negative tests,” Nash said. Kyrie Irving, who missed the loss to Philadelphia with a sprained right finger, is expected to play against Detroit on Tuesday, Andrews adds.
  • Seth Curry was encouraged by his 11-point performance against Brooklyn on Saturday, Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Curry, who missed approximately two weeks last month due to a bout with COVID-19, went scoreless in the Sixers’ previous two games. “I felt a little bit better all night, even in the first half, when I wasn’t making shots, I felt better than I have in the past week or two,” Curry said. “I think the key for me (Saturday) was I was able to get a little of my burst back and have more energy out on the floor offensively and defensively.”
  • Grant Williams‘ improved 3-point shooting this season is largely due to better footwork, according to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. The Celtics forward has made 46.7% of his attempts this season after knocking down just 25% of his long-range shots in his rookie campaign.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Curry, Celtics, Raptors

Sixers star Joel Embiid is widely expected to make the All-Star team this season, but the 26-year-old wouldn’t commit to playing in the game when asked about it on Thursday, Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Embiid is currently enjoying a career-best season, averaging 29.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per contest. He’s made the All-Star Game in each of his last three campaigns.

“I am not sure if I am going to make it, but hopefully I get the chance to be part of it once again,” Embiid said. “I have always been conservative. I have always voiced my opinion since the pandemic started, starting with the bubble, wasn’t really all [for it] and then the season.”

Embiid isn’t the first player to seemingly voice concerns over the All-Star Game being held, with Kings star De’Aaron Fox recently opposing the decision and Lakers superstar LeBron James also speaking out against the idea on Thursday night. The game is currently set be held on March 7 in Atlanta.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer examines how Seth Curry‘s recovery from COVID-19 has impacted his performance. Curry was acquired by the Sixers last offseason, most recently going scoreless in the team’s loss on Thursday (0-for-1 shooting in 12 minutes). He also didn’t record a point on Wednesday, shooting 0-for-3 in nearly 29 minutes.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explores the Celtics‘ 10 most valuable trade assets. Boston has several young players on its roster and a $28.5MM trade exception, making them a team worth watching ahead of the March 25 trade deadline. The club is currently 11-9.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic examines topics related to Raptors guard Malachi Flynn, trade scenarios and Plan B’s in his latest mailbag. Toronto has opened the season with a 9-12 record, though the team is 6-4 in its last 10 games.

Atlantic Notes: Nets Big Three, Tatum, Curry, TD Garden

Nets general manager Sean Marks is hopeful that the team will be able to extend Brooklyn’s new Big Three of forward Kevin Durant and guards James Harden and Kyrie Irving, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. The three stars, all of whom can become free agents in 2022, will not be eligible to ink contract extensions until the new league year commences in August.

“We’re definitely committed to these guys,” Marks said in a local radio interview on WFAN. “We’ll continue to build with this group, and we’ll just see where it goes. But hopefully it’s a lot longer than a year-and-a-half.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Though Celtics All-Star small forward Jayson Tatum remains closer to an on-court return for Boston, he will remain unavailable for at least Friday’s tilt with the Sixers, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. Tatum has not played for Boston since the team’s 116-107 win over the Wizards on January 8.
  • Sixers starting shooting guard Seth Curry has seen his health status upgraded to probable ahead of Philadelphia’s Friday game against the Celtics, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Curry has not played since injuring his right ankle in a 122-109 January 6 defeat to the Nets. Since then, he tested positive for COVID-19, but has since cleared league protocols and now is working on his conditioning ahead of a return.
  • The Celtics have inked a 15-year extension on their current lease with their home arena, TD Garden, per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. The contract will keep Boston home games located at TD Garden through the 2035/36 season.