Sixers pick up where they left off

Posted: February 20, 2014

THE HOPE was that the 4-day All-Star break would clear the cobwebs that had gathered during an eight-game losing streak, including consecutive losses by a total of 88 points, that bodies would be rested and attitudes rejuvenated.

The reality, though, when the 76ers took the court last night against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers, was that the roster was still the same (for the time being), a lineup that doesn't match up well against most other NBA teams. And it didn't again last night as the Cavaliers won their fifth consecutive game with a methodical, 114-85 trouncing. It was the Sixers' 19th loss in their last 22 games.

Perhaps all the talk of potential trades concerning Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner has something to do with recent dry spell. But it mostly has to do with poor shot selection, which again led to fastbreaks the other way, which again led to poor body language, and so on and so forth.

"It's for sure frustrating, but at the end of the day you just have to keep going to the next game," said Turner, who finished 3-for-14 for 11 points. "It's tough, but it's your choice how you're going to react to it. When it comes to these types of situations, you just have to look at yourself, see what you can do more as opposed to pointing fingers or whatever else."

Just the fact that Turner mentioned that means it's probably getting close to the blame game. Read faces during the game and you get the sense that players aren't pleased with one another, whether it be shot selection, a pass that lands in the stands or someone not getting back defensively. There has been a lot to be frustrated about lately, and it's difficult to pick a certain area, though the coach will start with the defense that has given up 100 points or more the past nine games, including 110 or more in seven of those.

"Some of it is mentality. Some of it is execution," coach Brett Brown said. "There's a disposition that all individual great defenders have in any great defensive team, and I've been lucky to be part of many, where there's a genuine pride that scores are a problem, people that score on me is a problem, and it manifests itself into a cohesive defensive unit. We don't have that. We don't have that. It's a combination of a bunch of things. At the end of the day, this program will be built on defense. There is nothing good that happens unless that is the cornerstone of a program. As we move forward, we find people that think like that, too. At the moment, it isn't there."

The Sixers (15-40) have lost three of their past four games by an average of 39 points. They have more turnovers (91) in the past five games than assists (89) and have scored below 90 in three of the past four games.

"The way we've been losing, it gets deflating a little bit," said Young, who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. "We're just trying to keep ourselves together and talking to each other and trying to stay positive."

Hard to do when the scores are so lopsided.

"If we lose by five or eight, that means we had a chance," Young said. "Thirty and 40, that means we weren't in the game to begin with."

Center Tyler Zeller had a season-high 18 points to go with a career-high 15 boards for the Cavs. Kyrie Irving, coming off his All-Star Game MVP performance, had 14 points as seven Cavaliers scored in double figures . . . Michael Carter-Williams had 15 points, but also turned the ball over seven times. Tony Wroten had 12 off the bench, but four turnovers . . . The Sixers' next game is on Friday when they host the Dallas Mavericks.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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