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|The Philadelphia 76ers have accomplished so much in this remarkable turnaround of a season.Brett Brown doesn’t want them letting up now.
The 76ers set a franchise record with their 15th consecutive victory and moved to the brink of clinching the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference Calvin Ridley Falcons Jersey , holding off the Atlanta Hawks 121-113 on Tuesday night.
JJ Redick scored 28 points and the 76ers got huge contributions off the bench from two former Atlanta players. Ersan Ilyasova scored 26 points and Marco Belinelli added 20.
How significant is a 15-game winning streak?
Just two years ago, the 76ers won 10 games all season .
”We all are greedy,” said Brown, the coach who was there for the bad times and now is getting to savor what has become one of the NBA’s most compelling stories. ”We want more. I want more. I tell my team that all the time. This is when the fun begins.”
The 76ers overcame a tough outing for rookie star Ben Simmons, who missed the morning shootaround after coming down with the stomach flu. He was feeling better by game time but still seemed a bit out of sorts, finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists before fouling out with 7 seconds remaining.
Simmons picked up a technical in the third quarter for arguing all the way down the court about a call that didn’t go his way.
”We had some lapses tonight where we didn’t play that well,” he said. ”But we held it together.”
His teammates helped pick up the slack. Redick hit 6 of 9 from beyond the 3-point arc , while Ilyasova and Belinelli – who started the season in Atlanta but were dumped by the rebuilding Hawks – combined for nine 3-pointers.
Philadelphia went 17 of 37 beyond the arc.
Now, the 76ers can lock up the East’s third seed with a home victory over Milwaukee in the regular-season finale Wednesday night.
”We have a real opportunity that we don’t want to let slip,” Brown said. ”We can control our own destiny. We’re not a prisoner to other people’s events. That, in and of itself, is rare and not to be taken for granted.”
The Hawks were long ago eliminated from playoff contention, closing out their worst season since 2005 with a record of 24-58.
They can only hope that a few painful seasons lead to the same outcome that occurred in Philadelphia.
”We’ve just got to figure out what we need so we can come back next year stronger http://www.vikingsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kendall-wright-jersey ,” said Taurean Prince, who led the Hawks with 27 points. ”We don’t want to be in this position again.”
G T.J. McConnell went down hard midway through third quarter after running into Dewayne Dedmon’s pick near the top of the key while trying to keep up with Prince. It wasn’t exactly a fair fight – Dedmon outweighs McConnell by 55 pounds. McConnell was down for a couple of minutes before walking slowly to the bench. He was able to return, though he failed to score in 19 minutes. … Philadelphia’s last loss was March 13 at home to Indiana. In all, the 76ers have won 26 of their last 31 games.
Hawks: Rookie G Antonius Cleveland fouled out of the game after playing just 13 minutes. … Atlanta was outrebounded 54-39. … As if to drive home the rebuilding process, the Hawks played four rookies in their final game of the season.
Philadelphia forward Dario Saric went out in the opening minute after a shot to the face left him with a cut lip and chipped tooth. It’s not known when he’ll be able to return, but Brown sounded a bit concerned with the playoffs approaching.
”It’s not an ideal time of year to lose a starting player,” the coach said. ”Not having Dario tonight hurt us.”
Prince set a franchise record with 18 3-point attempts, which drew some ribbing from teammate John Collins.
”That’s a 1 and an 8,” Collins said when Prince expressed surprise that he took so many.
He broke the mark of 16, which was set twice in the mid-1990s by Mookie Blaylock.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, Prince connected on just six of his shots beyond the arc.
”Maybe next year I can get the record for the most made,” he said.
76ers: Returns to Philadelphia to close out the regular season with what could be a first-round playoff preview. Milwaukee holds a 2-1 edge in the season series, with each team holding serve on its home court.
Hawks: It’s on to 2018-19 for Atlanta, whose 10-year playoff streak pretty much ended before the season began.
LeBron James recovered quickly from his neck strain. There’s still too much stress on his back.
He’s carrying the Cavaliers. It’s a springtime tradition.
As has been the case for much of his 15-year career http://www.redskinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kevin-hogan-jersey , James has had to perform at an extraordinary level throughout these playoffs, most recently in Cleveland’s Game 2 loss at Boston.
Bouncing back after taking a blow to the jaw from Jayson Tatum’s shoulder that violently twisted his head and sent a chill down the spines of Cleveland fans, James finished with 42 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.
It was not enough, however. His teammates failed him and the Cavs fell into a 2-0 hole in the Eastern Conference finals.
Kevin Love (22 points, 15 rebounds) helped, so did Kyle Korver (four 3-pointers) and Tristan Thompson (8 points, 7 rebounds). But too many other Cavs ranged from mediocre to awful.
If Cleveland is to even the series at home, that has to change starting in Game 3 on Saturday.
”We have to ramp it up,” said J.R. Smith, who didn’t score in Game 2 and committed a critical flagrant foul. ”We’re playing too slow. We’re making `Bron play hero ball, which is tough to do, especially in the Eastern Conference finals. We got to help him. With that said, we have to give him an opportunity to make him feel confident to give us the ball so we can make the right plays. We got to help him and he’s got to help us.”
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said James ”did everything” in practice Thursday Tyron Smith Cowboys Jersey , but the 33-year-old had left the floor by the time media members were allowed in for interviews. James was spotted in the fitness and training area inside the facility.
Lue said the Cavs spent time breaking down video of the two losses. There was plenty to dissect.
Cleveland has had puzzling defensive lapses, and Lue said there were up to nine instances in Game 2 alone where communication breakdowns led to easy baskets or open shots for the Celtics.
On offense, Lue feels Smith and point guard George Hill, who have been outscored 72-12 in two games by Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, need to be more aggressive and attack the basket.
Smith believes it’s simpler than that.
”Make shots, that’s the only thing we can do,” said Smith, who is 2 for 17 and 0 for 7 on 3-pointers in the series. ”I mean obviously we can do more on the defensive side, but our main focus is to make shots right now when we get it. If we don’t have them, try to make the next-best play. Right now `Bron and Kev are working overly hard, trying to carry us. We just got to step up and do our job.”
But talking a good game is one thing, playing one is another. The Cavs don’t have time for speeches or excuses. With their season inching toward danger, results are all that matter.
Hill didn’t record an assist in 28 minutes in Game 1 and had three points in Game 2. He missed time in the opening round against Indiana with back spasms and has been puzzled by his drop-off after playing so well in Cleveland’s sweep over Toronto.
”I’m trying to figure it out myself,” he said. ”I think a little bit of just trying to be more involved offensively Cheap Cordy Glenn Jersey , trying to be more involved defensively, not waiting until a play is possibly called and things like that to go do it. I’ve just got to be more assertive, I’ve got to play with that edge like I did in the second series
”There’s no one to blame but myself. You’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and say, `What can I do better?”’
The Cavs know they need to be more physical after the Celtics took the fight to them in Boston.
Lue raised some eyebrows following Game 2 when he described Boston’s players as ”gooning up” the series. Lue explained he wasn’t being critical.
”It’s not a bad thing to goon it up,” he said. ”Like, they’re taking hard fouls, they’re being physical. They’re playing playoff basketball. So that’s all I meant by it.”
Thompson said he loves that Boston is playing ”hard and chippy.” But he knows if the Cavs don’t ease the burden on James, this fight could be over sooner than expected.
”Other guys have to contribute and other guys have to step up,” Tristan Thompson said. ”Of course, it’s a huge luxury having LeBron on our team. At the same time, we have to be ready to play and we have to do our job.”
And get off James’ back.