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Sixers Notebook: Nick Nurse hoping Buddy Hield warms up soon

PHILADELPHIA — When Buddy Hield arrived via a three-way trade, Sixers general manager Daryl Morey did a verbal bat flip, for he considered adding a proven three-point sniper to be a home run.

“We feel like we got the best player at the trade deadline that was traded,” Morey said.

Whatever Morey believes now, the reality is Hield is in a nasty slump after a decent start. He entered Tuesday night’s home game with the Pistons shooting 40 percent from three-point land over 11 NBA seasons, but just 31.9 percent from long distance in the last 10 games. Hield averaged just 8.7 points in that span, not enough punch to justify any accolades.

He’s made just 4 of 18 triples in his last four games, prompting Sixers coach Nick Nurse to throw out another baseball analogy.

“I think it’s almost like the guy in the batting slump,” Nurse said Tuesday. “He can’t go up there and swing at everything. You’ve got to find your pitch to hit a little bit, too. We need to get him back playing a little bit better with a little more confidence. We really like him, and we’ve got a couple games left to do it.”

Waiting for the right pitch isn’t easy, according to Nurse, who intimated the coaching staff has to put Hield in better situations.

“The biggest thing I think is patience sometimes,” Nurse said. “He’s got to let the ball find him a little bit. And he’s got to stay confident, because he’s a very good shooter.”

Hield started slowly but made 5 of 9 triples on his way to 18 points.

• • •

The Sixers scratched guards Kyle Lowry (fluid in the left knee) and Tyrese Maxey (left hip tightness) Tuesday. Their starting lineup was Nick Batum, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, Kelly Oubre Jr. and point guard Cameron Payne

Nurse had his fingers crossed that guard De’Anthony Melton (back) would return.

“Right now, I just want to see him get out there and play,” Nurse said of Melton. “We know what he brings the team.”

Melton scored five points in 16 minutes.

“It felt good just to run around with my teammates and get some shots up and play some defense,” Melton said.

Lowrey’s swelling in his knee warrants extra rest. The Sixers are off Wednesday and Thursday.

“It’s not too bad,” Nurse said. “I think he did ding it a little bit in the Miami game. We just want to get him back to feeling a little bit better. We’ve got a few days after this game.”

Forward Robert Covington (bone bruise) remains out.

• • •

Sixers small forward KJ Martin entered the game averaging 22 minutes in his last three games, 10 minutes more than during the rest of his tour in Philly.

Martin (6-6, 215) is proof that Nurse values defense.

“He’s a really versatile defender,” Nurse said. “He can guard up to 5 (the center), even though he’s undersized. He is strong and he can guard pretty much everybody on the perimeter if we’re in a switching situation. He’ll take on some real physical challenges. He’ll put his body on people go out and put pressure on people.”

All that said, Martin was scratched with a contusion of the big toe.

• • •

The Pistons are a mess, although for the followers of Sam Hinkie, they are 1.5 games ahead in the race for the most ping pong balls and in terms of probabiliity, the first overall pick in the draft.

That would net them Serbian guard Nikola Topic, or forwards Alexandre Sarr or Zaccharie Risache, both French.

“It’s certainly humbling when you go through a tough season like this,” said Pistons coach Monty Williams, who played for the Sixers and assisted Sixers head coach Brett Brown back in the day. “But that’s OK. I’ve been through humbling basketball stuff and humbling life stuff. I’m OK with that because I know on the other side of that is important growth.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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