Sixers' morning (or mourning) game

ASSOCIATED PRESS Brett Brown offers instruction to newly acquired Daniel Orton.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Brett Brown offers instruction to newly acquired Daniel Orton.
Posted: October 18, 2013

CHARLOTTE - Before his team's morning preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena, 76ers coach Brett Brown passionately talked about the opportunity that was presenting itself to so many of his players.

The coach decided not to play starters Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes so that he could give more opportunity to those competing for playing time and roster spots.

Had some of the fringe players exhibited the same fire as their coach, they probably would have some job security. As it was, Brown wasn't happy with much after a 110-84 drubbing.

Lavoy Allen, hampered earlier in the preseason by a knee injury suffered in July, was simply a no-show for the matinee, missing all three of his field-goal attempts and grabbing just three rebounds before fouling out in 13 minutes, 6 seconds. Asked after the game if he was healthy, Allen said he was. Brown, however, wasn't so sure, saying, "I don't know [if Allen is still hurting]. I would assume, based on what I saw today, that he is still hurting."

Royce White, whom Brown seems to be counting on more and more as a serious-minutes big man, scored just two points and snared only four rebounds in his 25:33. He also turned the ball over four times and was a defensive liability much of the time.

Daniel Orton, freshly signed a day before the game, was thrown in for more than 27 minutes. He scored six points and grabbed three rebounds. He was none too happy with his performance.

"I have to get to the boards every time," he said. "I have to get way more than three rebounds if I'm going to contribute to the team. I have to get to the basket. I have to get better finishes. There's a lot of rust right now and that has to come off quickly. I have to earn the coach's trust. I have a big body but I didn't use it today. I had a face-up jumper and a turnaround fadeaway. That's not going to work. I have to try to get to the paint and get some finishes."

On the positive side, in a game that elicited very few such moments, guards Tony Wroten, Vander Blue and Darius Morris did well for themselves as far as securing time in the rotation.

Wroten had a team-high 20 points, Blue finished with 15 and Morris 11 in just under 17 minutes. Besides that, not much good came out of a game in which the Sixers trailed by 39 at one point.

"I can cry all I want about this play and that play, but if we just don't go back to home plate and understand that it's all about defense and then we run out of it, then I think we're getting tricked," Brown said. "We won't be fooled. We have to invest time into our defense and our basic rules and never let it go, keep pounding the rock in that regard."

Brown is looking for someone to jump out as a player who is craving minutes, but games like this don't make it easy to find one.

"Any time you go into NBA games and you look up and you see the margin growing, to dismiss that and just sort of stay in the day, stay in the play, just play the next play is philosophically the way it should be handled," Brown said.

"Intellectually, that's how you should play it. But they're human beings and they start, like anybody, getting a little wobbly, all those type things, and they can't. I'm not going there with them. We want them playing hard, we want to teach them and develop them and make them accountable, just like we said we were going to. But they're human beings and when they see we're down 30 in the first half, people are people.

"It's my role to get them up, make them accountable and coach them and teach them and not get down with them - unless there are repetitive mistakes. Then at that point you have to sub or up your voice a little bit. That's what I see is going to be the challenge."

White makes trip

Royce White didn't play a very good game, but he was there, and that is a feat. When the plane left Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon, despite the normal dose of heavy anxiety that hits him when he is about to fly, White was aboard.

"You have to know about anxiety and phobias to understand," the affable White said. "My first thought in the morning is not to forget anything, which is normal. But then as it gets closer, I start hoping that it will go well and the nervousness sets in. The whole time I'm on the flight, I'm nervous, I'm really hyper, attentive, on stand-by. It's never easy. It takes real strategy to try and overcome phobias. For most people it takes a really long time. Sometimes people die before getting over their phobias. If a person had a phobia of spiders, that's no big deal.

"But have them face a spider 100 times a year, then it's a real big deal."

Six shots

The game was labled "Cool School Field Trip" and thousands of area school kids were in attendance . . . Ben Gordon scored 22 points on 7-for-9 shooting for Charlotte. Rookie Cody Zeller scored 10 points in close to 14 minutes off the bench . . . James Anderson and Michael Carter-Williams each scored 11 for the Sixers. Hollis Thompson, the starting small forward, led the Sixers with 10 rebounds . . . The Sixers turned the ball over 23 times . . . The team has two more preseason games left, Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Ohio State and Wednesday at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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