There have been variables stacked against them, such as having to play back-to-back games after coming off their West Coast road trip. They also had to compete in those games without bench spark Tony Wroten, who was out with the flu. Then they had to host a big and tough Detroit team without their most physical interior presence in Lavoy Allen, who also missed the Sixers' loss to the New York Knicks a day later.
It has been a myriad of problems of late, for a team that certainly can't afford minor incidents to get in their way, let alone semi-catastrophic ones.
"We have 12 or 13 assists in the Pistons game in the first half and then we just play pig basketball where we just try to get it all done one-on-one," Brown said. "It goes from a team that's running and sharing to a team that's taking bad shots, early shots, contested shots and people are getting deflated running back and forth playing defense when we need to get some touches and get a team thing going. They want to please, they want to do what we're asking them, they're trying. I hope I'm giving them good advice, but I know it's a team game, I know they must share the ball and sometimes that gets misconstrued where it's always borne out of attack. You have to attack, you have to feel good about yourself and you have to force some things, force the defense to do something and then you kick it. It's really that simple.
"To me it [the struggles] is a few things. We dissect it so much that you can't sleep trying to figure out that Holy Grail reason. I've learned that there is not a fraction of a margin that we can give up. There is no margin for error, whether it's Lavoy's injury or Tony not being there, if one of the big three [Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner] aren't the big three . . . Because the bench, as youthful and inexperienced as it is, you can actually absorb that. But when you're missing some bodies and the big three aren't firing, just from performance or attendance you've become real ordinary really quick. You've become so vulnerable. Then if you turn it over a bunch or you don't rebound because you're small, you become too selfish where we're just not moving the ball. All those things add up to we could lose by 30 or we could beat Portland on the road, we can beat Houston at home, Miami at home, Chicago at home, good teams."
In the four losses, they've given up an average of more than 113 points a game. In the four-game winning streak before that, they allowed just over 102.
"Coach always says it starts with our defense and we can run out of things and then we can move," said Carter-Williams. "Defensively, if we're playing good and keeping our guys in front and contesting the three, then we're always in the game. Once we get away from that, then the other team starts to score a lot more and get ahead. It's tough to keep going back and forth and scoring with us. We need to get stops and we need good shots."
Brett Brown said Lavoy Allen did not practice yesterday and that the team was going to be cautious with the calf injury . . . Forward Arnett Moultrie did go for the full practice as he is getting closer to making his season debut after preseason ankle surgery. "He played today, went some five-on-five with us and is starting to get back in some game kind of shape and starting to get his weight down," Brown said. "I thought he looked good today. He's still a fair ways off. What that means in regards to days or how many games, I still don't know."
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