For coach Brett Brown, it means watching whatever players he has in uniform that night playing as hard as they can, competing at the highest level of their ability and seeing where that takes them.
That hasn't been happening lately, and understandably the coach isn't happy.
Friday night it seemed like the Atlanta Hawks barely broke a sweat in thumping the Sixers by 26 points. They didn't need a starter to play more than 27 minutes. They eased their way to 50.6 percent shooting, scoring 58 of their points in the paint.
In Saturday's 113-96 loss at Detroit against the Pistons, the Sixers were manhandled by a tougher team. The Pistons outrebounded them, 58-44, and it probably could have been a lot worse.
The losses aren't surprising for the Sixers, with a roster that simply isn't on an even competitive level most nights. But when the effort is questioned, the little victories that they are striving for are in no way attainable.
After Friday's loss Brown said: "It was the poorest performance of our season. It was one of the few times that the effort wasn't there. The effort wasn't there." He also expressed frustration at the lack of defense shown by his club.
"You either play it or you don't," Brown said. "You do or you don't. It's a mindset, it's a way you see the sport and we need to see the sport from that lens or we're going to have those types of nights. This period of the NBA season [just before the All-Star break] is always delicate. We think that we're going to do something offensively to get back in it and we're getting tricked, we're going to get caught and then that's it. Until you approach the game to where scores are a problem . . . You have to feel it is a problem. Until you feel like every score is a problem, you should want to seek answers, you want to have an accountability where it's a group thing, a team thing. Until you really do that you are going to have these types of nights from time to time.
"It's a mindset that we want to get back in it on this [offensive] side of the floor and it has to be on that side [defensive] of the floor. Bottom line, end of story. That's how the culture of this organization has to be built and will be built."
Until then the growing pains become deeper and deeper.
The team is now 1-11 when guard Michael Carter-Williams doesn't play. He sat out Saturday's loss with a sore right shoulder . . . Tony Wroten, who has been in a serious slump lately, paced the Sixers on Saturday with 18 points, but also turned the ball over six times . . . Elliot Williams had 15 points against the Pistons, tying the career-high he set the night before against the Atlanta Hawks.
On Twitter: @BobCooney76