76ers

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS -

39 points while James had 18 points, 10 re­bounds and nine as­sists.

James was fac­ing Philadel­phia for the first time since the Six­ers made a big push to sign the su­per­star as a free agent last sum­mer. He and Kuzma both missed the last matchup with Philly on Jan. 29, which the Six­ers won 121-105.

“I thought they were go­ing to be very good any­way be­fore they made any moves, be­fore the sea­son even started,” James said. “And they’ve made a bunch of moves to improve their club.”

Fresh off a buzzer-beat­ing win at Bos­ton, the Lak­ers shot nearly 60 per­cent and scored 40 points in the first quar­ter. But fu­eled by Redick’s four-point play, the Six­ers closed the first half on a 19-6 run to take a 76-67 lead into half­time.

Em­biid, who was ques­tion­able to play be­cause of gas­troen­teri­tis, led the charge with 25 points in the first half af­ter light­ing up the Lak­ers for 28 in the teams’ first matchup.

“I must not be a big LA fan,” said Em­biid, who had his league-lead­ing 23rd game with at least 30 points and 10 re­bounds. “It’s fun. I’ve been more con­sis­tent against both LA teams.”

Philadel­phia’s lead bal­looned to 109-94 at the end of the third quar­ter af­ter T.J. McCon­nell’s 3-pointer in the clos­ing sec­onds. The Six­ers ran away with the game from there while glee­ful fans chanted “Kobe’s better” at James.

“We had too many break­downs,” James said. “Way too many break­downs.”

Tip-ins

Lak­ers: John­son said be­fore the game that he didn’t be­lieve the New Or­leans Pel­i­cans en­gaged in good-faith ne­go­ti­a­tions at the trade dead­line dur­ing the Lak­ers’ pur­suit of An­thony Davis. John­son added that the LA play­ers who were on the trade block are pro­fes­sion­als who are ca­pa­ble of mov­ing for­ward. “This is how this league works,” he said. “They know it. I know it.” ... Mike Mus­cala, one of two play­ers the Lak­ers ac­quired at the dead­line, had eight points in 13 min­utes against the team he spent the first half of the sea­son with be­fore be­ing dealt . ... Coach Luke Walton said Josh Hart was avail­able af­ter deal­ing with knee ten­dini­tis, but the former Vil­lanova star did not get into the game.

76ers: Ea­gles quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz, film di­rec­tor M. Night Shya­malan, New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots owner Bob Kraft and Los An­ge­les An­gels out­fielder Mike Trout were in at­ten­dance. So was new Philadel­phia Union mid­fielder and Mex­i­can na­tional team star Marco Fabian, who swapped jer­seys with fel­low Philly new­comer Har­ris af­ter the game . ... The Six­ers scored at least 33 points in each quar­ter — the first time the team has done so since 1986 . ... Philly fin­ished with 33 as­sists and seven turnovers.

Sim­mons be­lieves in magic

John­son re­vealed that Sim­mons has reached out to the Lak­ers about work­ing out with him this sum­mer to learn more about play­ing the “po­si­tion as a big guard.” Pend­ing league ap­proval, John­son noted he’d be happy to ac­com­mo­date such a wish.

“I love his game,” John­son said. “I love his vi­sion.”

Said Sim­mons: “Try­ing to learn from some­body like that would be huge.”

Sim­mons for 3?!?

Per­haps the most sur­pris­ing part of the game came one minute into the sec­ond half when Sim­mons at­tempted just his third 3-pointer of the sea­son — and the first that wasn’t an end-of-clock heave.

“I wasn’t shocked by it,” Redick said, be­fore Em­biid turned to him and replied, “You sure?”

The shot rimmed out as much of the crowd gasped. Sim­mons has never made a 3 in his two sea­sons in the NBA, but be­lieves he’ll have more op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand his game with Har­ris join­ing a star-stud­ded start­ing lineup along­side him, Redick, But­ler and Em­biid.

“With this new five I think it’s go­ing to be ex­cit­ing in terms of what we can do,” Sim­mons said. “I’m just try­ing to take what they give me.”

More AP NBA: https://ap­news.com/NBA and https:// twitter.com/AP—Sports boosted with his 37 point14-re­bound per­for­mance in a na­tion­ally tele­cast show­piece event.

He was the crown jewel, even if he was not real quick after­ward to em­brace the no­tion.

“Our cul­ture was built on shar­ing the ball, and mak­ing sure the ball gets through ev­ery­body’s hands,” Em­biid said. “If they need me, or if the play is bro­ken down, that’s where I come in. But re­ally my job is to make sure that we are shar­ing the ball.”

That’s the plan. But what hap­pens when the new-car smell is gone? What hap­pens when so many un­signed stars be­gin to sense that a four-star, one-bas­ket­ball lineup can affect their num­bers … those in the box scores, those in the bank ac­counts? What hap­pens af­ter the first two-game los­ing streak? What hap­pens the first time an­other star de­mands to be the fran­chise gem?

“I think there’s no mys­tery any more about whether Jimmy But­ler can score, or if To­bias can score, or if J.J. can shoot,” Brown said. “They can do it. Their runs are on the board. And so the in­tel­lect, the char­ac­ter of this team that can buy into this no­tion is ev­ery­thing. And when you win, those things take care of them­selves, I have learned and com­pletely be­lieve.”

There are ex­am­ples of that. The Golden State War­riors have been known to lob a com­plaint or two to­ward Steve Kerr. And they win. But Brown faces a tough sit­u­a­tion with so much star-power look­ing not just to win on the court, but in the freeagency race. For that, he has set one rule: There is one crown jewel. Not two. Not five.

CHRIS SZAGOLA — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Philadel­phia 76ers’ Ben Sim­mons, right, of Aus­tralia, goes up for the shot as he is fouled by Los An­ge­les Lak­ers’ Le­Bron James, left, dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NBA bas­ket­ball game, Sun­day in Philadel­phia. The 76ers won 143-120.

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