Sluggish 76ers need renewed energy

The Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving passes the ball between the 76ers' Spencer Hawes and Michael Carter-Williams during the second quarter. (Tony Dejak/AP)
The Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving passes the ball between the 76ers' Spencer Hawes and Michael Carter-Williams during the second quarter. (Tony Dejak/AP) (AP)
Posted: January 10, 2014

CLEVELAND - The 76ers are in desperate need of a little rest and relaxation.

"The team that came back from the West Coast in relation to what I have seen the last two nights, from an energy perspective, is night and day," coach Brett Brown said after Tuesday's 111-93 setback to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. "So we've got to get our players fresh. We've got to get a little mentally tougher, and deal with the reality of the landscape of an NBA season."

The Sixers (12-23) are a shell of the team that capped a five-game West Coast trip with four consecutive victories.

They held the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, and Portland Trail Blazers to a combined 38.6 percent shooting from the field - including 25.2 percent on three-pointers during the winning streak.

But in two lopsided losses since, the Sixers have allowed the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cavs to shoot a combined 45.2 percent from the field - including 43.9 percent on three-pointers.

Cavs guard CJ Miles made 10 of 14 three-pointers to finish with 34 points. He set the Cavs record for made three-pointers in a game. Miles tied the previous record in the first half with eight threes. He made his first six three-point shots.

The Sixers believe fatigue has a lot to do with their dismal defense.

They completed their road trip Saturday night in Portland and arrived in Philadelphia at 7 a.m. Sunday before having home-and-away, back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday.

"It's not an excuse," Spencer Hawes said, "but at a certain point, you've got to kind of face the facts.

"Since I've been here, I don't think we've ever had a trip like that, going out West," Hawes said. "But I also don't remember coming back, sleeping on the plane, coming back, and having that be your off day. Then having a back-to-back after that."

But that's life in the NBA, where teams have grueling schedules.

The Sixers received a day off Wednesday and are scheduled to resume practice Thursday in preparation for this weekend's games at the Wells Fargo Center against the Detroit Pistons (Friday) and the New York Knicks (Saturday).

Brown will utilize basic recovering tactics to make sure his team is fresh for the next few games.

"Whether it's hydration, whether it's massages, whether it's the stretching, whether it's simply time off," he said, "you are really conscious about their diet."

He believes "with their minds comes their body, and their game comes with the mind."

Notable. Thaddeus Young failed to score a point Tuesday after having scored a total of 205 in the previous eight games. As a result, the Sixers power forward became the fourth player in NBA history to be held scoreless while playing 20 or more minutes after averaging at least 25 points during the previous eight games, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The other players were Jim Paxson (in 1984), Antawn Jamison (2001), and Gilbert Arenas (2004).


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

inquirer.com/deepsixer

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