Embiid was introduced to a roaring standing ovation and heard chants of “M.V.P.” and “Trust the Process” when he opened the game with two free throws. But he did not seem ready to play at an All-Star level for any substantial length of time. He was hit with a technical when he shoved Jared Dudley to the ground, and he went back to the locker room for more treatment with about three minutes left in the first half. He scored 22 points, 12 on free throws, and had 15 rebounds.
Butler kept the Sixers in the game with a sensational first half that showed why the franchise surrendered so much to land the four-time All-Star. He buried a 3-pointer at the horn to send Philadelphia into the break behind by 62-54. He was 6 of 10 and scored 23 points while the rest of the Sixers shot 10 of 38 for 31 points. Simmons, a first-time All-Star, missed four of five shots and scored only 2 points.
Embiid has always fancied himself a 3-point shooter, and with tendinitis in his left knee that cost him most of the final month of the season rendering him immobile he decided to camp out a bit more beyond the arc. He missed all five of his 3-point attempts in the half — and the Sixers missed their first 11.
With or without Embiid, the Nets were all but unstoppable for much of the half. Dinwiddie and DeMarre Carroll made consecutive 3-pointers during a 12-0 run. LeVert hit two straight 3s for a 14-point lead, and the Sixers — who had been the darlings of the city during their rise from the depths of the standings — were soundly booed off the court by 20,000 fans at Wells Fargo Center.
“We all got to do a better job,” Embiid said. “Us. The fans. We have to bring the fun.”
WALTON TO COACH KINGS One day after parting ways with the Los Angeles Lakers, Luke Walton reached agreement on a four-year deal to coach the Sacramento Kings, according to a person familiar with the deal who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Magic Johnson abruptly resigned as Lakers president earlier this week in part because he did not want to go through with firing Walton, as had been expected around the N.B.A. for weeks. On Friday, Walton and the Lakers mutually agreed to part ways with two seasons left on his contract — with Walton knowing that the Kings, after firing Coach Dave Joerger on Thursday, were eager to hire him.
The Lakers have the former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue and the Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams at their top of their list to succeed Walton. Lue coached the Lakers’ LeBron James for two and a half seasons in Cleveland.(MARC STEIN)