The tough times continue for the Philadelphia 76ers as they dropped another one last night to the Phoenix Suns. Philadelphia has lost 10 out of their last 12 games and just one home win in their past eight outings.
Defending has been the Achilles heel of this team all season long and it was no different this past evening. The Suns came into the Wells Fargo Center and made themselves at home, scoring 124 points; 20 more than their average.
Phoenix has a high octane offense as they recently scored 124 points against the league’s best defensive team; the Indiana Pacers. Even though the Suns are so explosive, there is no excuse for the Sixers to give up more than 60 points in both the first and second halves.
The team defense more than likely will be a concern for the remainder of the season, but the effort the team is showing on their home floor needs to change as soon as possible. This has been one of coach Brett Brown’s biggest criticisms of the team in the past couple of weeks.
“To start the way we started at home is disappointing,” said Brown. “That’s the bottom line.”
For a good chunk of the first couple months of the season, the Sixers found themselves getting off to fast starts. However, this has not been the case as of late.
This past Friday, the Sixers found themselves down by double digits to Toronto in the first quarter and would eventually lose the game by nine. There was some improvement in the start against Oklahoma City but regressed tremendously last night as they trailed by 14 after the first quarter.
“We can’t let teams get that much of a head start,” said Michael Carter-Williams. “They came out pretty hot and when teams come out hot, we gotta adjust to that early.”
Along with most points allowed by the opposition, the Sixers are at the top of the league in another category. The Sixers have struggled with turnovers as of late and last night was another example of that.
The Sixers collectively had 21 turnovers yesterday which led to 33 points by the Suns. Philadelphia found themselves down by 8 after the first half, but due to 9 third quarter turnovers, Phoenix went up by double digits and eventually captured their 26th victory of the season.
“We can’t turn the ball over. We need good shots,” said Carter-Williams. “If we are gonna give up that many points, we can’t turn the ball over and we gotta get good shots every possession.”
The Sixers starting point guard is well aware of what the team needs to do to have better success. It is now just a matter of executing on what Brett Brown preaches to them each day.
“It’s frustrating. But there is nothing that we can do about it now,” said Carter-Williams. “We just gotta learn from our mistakes and apply it to the next game.”
Coach Brown understands the difficulties that this team is facing. He has kept an optimistic mindset throughout this tough stretch and has noticed some good positives within the team.
“We lead the NBA in getting to the rim. I am proud of that,” said Brown. “We want to continue to attack.”
The Sixers are known as a team that likes to get out and run before the opponents defense can set up in the half-court. With that being said, this is one of the big reasons they have had turnover issues is because of the carelessness with the ball.
“I love the mentality but we need to realize that it’s the NBA and we are running into some big men that are athletes,” said Brown.
Brown knows more than anyone that the team still has plenty to work on before the season comes to a close in a few months. He has a full slate of problems he is working on with his team but continues to encourage his players and has a positive outlook on the future.
The Sixers travel to Boston on Wednesday night to take on the Celtics. If they can take care of the basketball and make smarter decisions on both ends of the floor, they should have much more success against the struggling Celtics squad.
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