Sixers still find way to lose

The Sixers' Evan Turner missed two critical free throws with 7.1 seconds to play that could have sealed the victory in Denver.
The Sixers' Evan Turner missed two critical free throws with 7.1 seconds to play that could have sealed the victory in Denver. (AP)
Posted: March 24, 2013

DENVER - It is hard to rip defeat from the jaws of victory with any more proficiency than the 76ers did Thursday in a 101-100 loss to the streaking Denver Nuggets.

The Sixers (26-42) led by eight points with 2 minutes, 7 seconds remaining and by five points with 14.3 seconds to play, yet still lost their 15th straight road game.

Despite their best shooting night of the season (55.1 percent), the Sixers were unable to avoid becoming the hot Nuggets' 14th straight victim.

But the Sixers have no one but themselves to blame for their collapse.

Jrue Holiday (18 points, career-high-tying 15 assists) was whistled for a foolish 24-second violation when he over-dribbled on a possession. Still, the Sixers led by 100-95 following a pair of Holiday free throws.

Denver's Corey Brewer cut the lead with a three-pointer, and then the collapse went into overdrive. Evan Turner missed two free throws with 7.1 seconds to play and the Sixers up by 100-98.

On the Nuggets' final possession, following a timeout, Brewer sprang open for a three-pointer at least three feet behind the arc. But Damien Wilkins, who led the Sixers with a season-high 24 points, fouled Brewer, who made all three of his free throws with 2.1 to play.

Wilkins had his potential game-winner, taken in a crowd, blocked by Anthony Randolph.

"We had the game in hand," a visibly frustrated Doug Collins said in the aftermath. "They are riding high, but we had to win that game. We are out here scratching on the road, and we aren't giving up on the season. We aren't going to make the playoffs, but we aren't giving up on the season. This was disappointing."

Collins said that even after Turner missed the free throws the Sixers had to come up with a defensive stop.

Turner said that there was no one to blame for the loss. However, Wilkins acknowledged that his foul cost the Sixers, who will attempt to end their road losing skid Sunday at Sacramento (25-44).

"I was just trying to challenge the shot aggressively and not let him get a clean look. I was a little bit too aggressive and I cost my team a win tonight," Wilkins said.


Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer

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