Challenge in Philadelphia: learning how to win

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Interesting note today from Kate Fagan at Philly.com on this year’s 0-3 Philadelphia 76ers.

Sixers coach Doug Collins offered this statistic after the game (which he said he shared with his team as well): No player on the Sixers roster has a winning record as a professional. That actually struck me as quite amazing. Obviously there are the mainstays that you know don’t have a winning record because they’ve been with the Sixers their entire careers (Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams, etc.), but to think that even the added veterans and transplants (Andres Nocioni, Tony Battie) don’t have winning records is amazing. It’s a statistic that is common sense once you think about it, but still quite representative of the uphill battle this team faces.

Afterall, there are habits learned during a 27-55 season, or during successive 27-55 seasons.

There is something to be said for learning to win in the NBA. Oklahoma City is learning. There are teams in the East like the Knicks and Nets that are learning, along with the Sixers. And it tells you how key bringing in a veteran, even a limited role-playing guy, can be on the right team. For an example, the Nets need to learn to win but they brought in guys like Jordan Farmar, with his two title rings, who can teach about how to carry yourself like a winner in the NBA. There has to belief with the talent.

Philly is learning, but it’s not going to be easy. It hasn’t been this season.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)