Sixers' most recent losses are historic

Posted: February 13, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY - It is rare during a professional basketball game that you find so many people scrambling for the record books. But that is what has happened the past couple of 76ers games. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Clippers got their biggest lead at halftime in franchise history (39), then won by 45, another franchise mark.

The next night, the Golden State Warriors built the lead over the Sixers as high as 49 points, ultimately winning that game by 43. It was only the second time in NBA history that a team lost back-to-back games by 40 or more points; the other team also was the Sixers, in 1994.

Are the lopsided losses in part due to the looming All-Star break, which will come after the team faces the Utah Jazz tonight? Do most of the players already have one foot headed toward wherever they will spend the break?

And the pressing question is this: Is coach Brett Brown getting full effort from his players?

"I thought at times, you can pick moments," Brown said of his team's lack of effort. "It gets deflating when you just feel like you're outmanned at times and you're struggling scoring and you're busting your tail at the other end trying to do the right thing, and you're getting no rewards for getting stops and not being able to put the thing in the hole. At times, it has been effort, but not in general. You look at the scores and you're going to think that, but I don't. I think you ran into a buzz saw [Sunday] night from an NBA championship-caliber type team, and [Monday night] these people are great at home, and Steph [Curry] got going and they found something unique in [Marreese] Speights.

Yes, Speights dumped a career-high 32 points on the Sixers, making 12 of his 15 shots. And Curry opened the whole offensive floor for the Warriors with his outside shooting, which included 6-of-9 from three-point range. And the Clippers certainly played the type of game that would have been a lopsided win against most NBA teams.

But the common thread in those games was the Sixers, and that's where the concentration has to go. Here's a quick look at just how bad the two losses were:

* The Sixers were outscored in the first half by a combined 135-63.

* The combined score after three quarters was 198-103.

* The Sixers shot a combined 22-for-96 (22.9 percent) in the first half, 60-for-190 (31.6 percent) overall.

* The rebounding edge for the Clippers and Warriors was 119-82.

* The Sixers dealt 31 assists in the two games, compared with 57 by the opponents.

* The Sixers got their shot blocked 20 times in the two games, registering only six rejections themselves.

* The Sixers never led in either game.

* The Clippers used a 20-3 run to forge out to a 56-point lead at 89-33 midway through the third quarter.

* Golden State had a 19-0 run to end the first half and led by 66-33.

* The Sixers shot 27 percent against the Clippers, a defensive record by Los Angeles.

* Blake Griffin, of the Clippers, accumulated 26 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in less than 25 minutes, the first player to do that since Denver's Fat Lever in 1989-90.

The numbers are mind-boggling, to be sure, but they are just clues to the bigger problems. The Sixers are getting beaten down the floor continually, are constantly diving out into passing lanes with no chance at a steal, giving up offensive boards, and have little ability to put the ball in the basket.

This is a season to rebuild. But not like this.

"Don't feel sorry for us. We'll be back at it. We're not going to put our heads down or feel sorry for ourselves. We'll keep working," Brown said.

Perhaps tonight against the lowly Jazz, the Sixers will find their groove. Or maybe there's just no way it comes back until after the break.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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