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A Philadelphia 76ers blog, hosted by Christopher A. Vito

Friday, January 31, 2014

Sixers' Tony Wroten says ankle sprain is not to blame for his recent shooting woes

(Associated Press)

Tony Wroten is out of sorts, but he’s not blaming his sprained right ankle.

The 76ers’ sixth man had another rough outing Friday night, in a 125-99 loss to Atlanta. Wroten went 1-for-13 from the floor, including 0-for-4 from 3-point range, with six points, three assists and two turnovers.

“It’s not 100 percent,” Wroten said of his bad ankle, “but that has nothing to do with the way I play.”

Wroten missed three games this month due to a right ankle sprain he picked up Jan. 18 at Chicago. Since his return last week, he’s played poorly in four straight games: 8-for-33 overall, including 0-for-9 from long range, with averages of 5.8 points, 1.2 assists and 2.0 turnovers per game.

“Just part of the game. You go through strings like this,” he said.

Coach Brett Brown, without singling out individuals, said the Sixers need to play more completely. He said too often the Sixers attempt to shoot their way back into close games, rather than defend, make stops and force turnovers.

Wroten’s game has not lent itself to much at the defensive end. Even still, Brown said he can find fault in the second-year guard’s offensive game.

“I speak to Tony often. We challenge him directly on the importance of being a point guard,” Brown said. “We know he can get to the rim, but you have to grow to make other people better. When is the crowd not your friend? You have to kick it, because he has that skill of getting to the rim. We challenge him always. You’re more than just an attack guy at the rim. You have to grow to be more than that.

“When he isn’t finishing, he gets deflated. There’s a sadness, at times, that he has to get over. I have to help him. He’s 20 years old. You’ve got to kick him in the tail and get him up. Life’s not that bad. And get him moving, let’s go.”

The Sixers (15-32) visit Detroit (18-27) Saturday.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Evan Turner: Sixers turning Brett Brown gray with poor shooting at foul line


BOSTON – The 76ers found a way to end their three-game losing streak, and it wasn’t at the free-throw line.

Evan Turner drove the lane and hoisted a six-footer in traffic for the game-winning bucket as time expired, helping the Sixers beat the Boston Celtics, 95-94, Wednesday night at TD Garden.

The Sixers were woeful at the foul line, shooting 14-for-25 overall and 4-for-10 in the fourth quarter.

In the end, the Sixers (15-31) held off the Celtics (15-33) to win for only the third time in 13 games. But, Turner wondered, at what expense?

“We’ve got to finish those free throws and make it easy on us,” Turner said. “When Coach (Brett) Brown took the job, he was a sandy blond. Now he’s a gray-haired man. We can’t be ruining his time.”

The Sixers will not practice Thursday, before hosting Atlanta Friday.

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Michael Carter-Williams makes roster for Rising Stars Challenge; Tony Wroten does not

(Associated Press)

BOSTON Michael Carter-Williams can add another accomplishment to his ever-expanding resume. 

Wednesday, Carter-Williams was named to the roster for the league’s Rising Star Challenge, a rookie-sophomore showcase game that will be played Feb. 14 of All-Star weekend in New Orleans.

The 76ers’ point guard is one of nine rookies on the roster of first-year players. As for the nine second-year players chosen, Sixers guard did not make the cut.
Tony Wroten

Carter-Williams entered Wednesday averaging 17.4 points, 6.7 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. If he maintains those numbers, he’d join Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Steve Francis as the league’s fourth rookie to average those numbers.

“I think his numbers confirm he’s special,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said.

Only 45 games into his pro career, Carter-Williams has achieved plenty. He was the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the first week of the regular season. He was the East’s Rookie of the Month in November. And he’s leading all rookies in scoring, rebounds and assists.

Now comes the challenge of juggling a weekend of rest versus invaluable experience. Carter-Williams, who averages 35 minutes per game, would have had six days between games over All-Star break. Instead, he will be in New Orleans for a weekend of league-wide festivities.

“It’s a Mardi Gras. It’s a circus. It’s no time for rest,” Brown said, “and Michael won’t experience any rest. I wish he could. But on the flipside, I’m proud of him and I want him to enjoy this experience.”

Evan Turner played in the Rising Stars Challenge in 2012, though rest wasn’t a premium for him. Back then, he was averaging 26 minutes per game.

“You’ve got to think, man. I had nothing but rest. I was part-time,” Turner said. “I took full advantage of playing freely (in the Rising Stars game). I needed that. I would’ve played three more games if they would’ve let me.

“But you want to experience that. You’re young. It gets you excited and intrigued to experience something like that. Then you have a (Kevin Garnett) in that, and after the 13th All-Star Game, it gets a little tiring. MCW will be fine. I’m sad Tony couldn’t make it, but (Carter-Williams) will represent well.”

Speaking of Wroten, the Sixers’ sixth man felt let out when he learned he didn’t make the cut.

“Politics. I know I should’ve made it. It is what it is, you know? Just adds fuel to the fire.”

Wroten is averaging 12.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists through 38 games.

“Check the stats, man. I definitely should’ve played in it,” Wroten said. “Nothing against the people who made it. Congrats to everybody who did make it. I definitely got snubbed, but (it’s) just motivation.”

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sixers coach Brett Brown reflects on memories at Boston Garden

(Boston University)

While the 76ers’ game Wednesday night against the host Boston Celtics is sure to be a treat for Sixers rookie and Hamilton, Mass., native Michael Carter-Williams, as well as for injured rookie Nerlens Noel, of Malden, Mass., it’s fair to assume the Sixers’ first-year coach will have a few familiar faces in the arena, too.

The native of South Portland, Maine, who routinely took trips with his parents into Boston as a youth to watch the Celtics, Brett Brown spoke glowingly Tuesday after the Sixers’ practice about his links to Boston: the games he’d seen there and the games he’d played there, as an undergrad at Boston University.

Here’s what Brown had to say:
On Boston Garden’s charm:

“In the seats I had, you’d look up five feet to the roof and see the moss and the stalagmites or stalactites. I don’t remember which one goes up or down. You’re in an old, dingy building that had so much character.”

On the parquet floor’s unforgiving squares:

“I played there a few times during my Boston University days,” he said. “You’d play in Christmas tournaments – BC, Northeastern, UMass. You’d be flying up the court, dribbling and you’d hit one of the dead squares and you’re upset because it’s a turnover with nobody around and (the ball) just wouldn’t come up. It’s funny. You started learning, as a point guard, where you could go for steals. Sometimes, with other point guards you were guarding were going to have trouble with the floor. You’d try to manipulate it and try to take it as an advantage.”

On the Sixers/Celtics games from back in the day:

“I can still hear the music, the introduction, to the NBA Game of the Week. You hear it and you think immediately, ‘NBA.’ To travel down to the Garden, and to see back in my day it was (George) McGinnis and Julius Erving and Bobby Jones and Andrew Toney and Mo Cheeks and Doug (Collins) and so on. I couldn’t believe how Toney would kick the Celtics’ tail. He was so unguardable. … It was such a big part of my upbringing.”

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Brett Brown: Arnett Moultrie's ankle is 'almost perfect,' conditioning is 'main hurdle'


Conditioning appears to be “the main hurdle” in Arnett Moultrie’s return to the court, said 76ers coach Brett Brown.

The second-year forward has yet to play this season due to a pre-training camp left ankle injury that required surgery. Moultrie’s ankle “is almost perfect,” Brown said. Getting the 6-11, 249-pounder into basketball-ready shape is the next task, though Brown added there is no timetable for Moultrie’s eventual season debut.

“He’s doing OK. He’s continuing to get in shape. That’s the main hurdle,” Brown said after Tuesday’s practice. “The ankle is almost perfect. It’s not the ankle. We’re helping him achieve some fitness goals from a conditioning standpoint to a weight standpoint, and he’s moving along. We hope to see him a heck of a lot sooner rather than later.”

Moultrie has only been practicing with his teammates for the last few weeks. His first 5-on-5 practice was Dec. 31 in Denver.

The Mississippi State product averaged 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 47 games in his rookie season.

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