Pacers send Sixers to team-record 21st straight loss

Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams, center, pulls down a rebound in front of Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi, second from left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, March 17, 2014. The Pacers won 99-90. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams, center, pulls down a rebound in front of Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi, second from left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, March 17, 2014. The Pacers won 99-90. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) (AP)
Posted: March 19, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS - The 76ers lost their way into sole possession of a franchise record in fitting fashion - not with a blowout but with the kind of plays that typify a team that can't do anything right.

There was a no-look pass underneath the basket by Michael Carter-Williams that went directly to Indiana guard Donald Sloan. And Indiana's George Hill was left wide open late in the game on a corner three-pointer that he buried.

Those types of miscues doomed the Sixers in a 99-90 setback to Indiana on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

It was the Sixers' 21th consecutive setback, breaking the franchise record held by the 1972-73 squad that finished with a 9-73 mark. The Sixers (15-52) are closing in on the NBA record of 26 consecutive losses set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.

As the losses mount, the Sixers are more and more becoming the punch line of jokes.

Surely that has had a negative effect on what is the youngest team in the history of the NBA, right?

Not according to Brett Brown.

The rookie head coach is trying not to pay attention to what's being said about the Sixers. Nor does he want his players to pay attention.

"I mention [the chatter about the losing streak] from time to time," Brown said. "I hope they [emulate] me because I'm not paying attention."

Brown realized from the start it would a struggle. This season was about sacrificing wins to get a top pick in the NBA draft. The rebuilding process for the Sixers should take three to five seasons.

"We try to come with a positive attitude and give people opportunities every day," Brown said. "There is no 'woe is me' going on around our program. I hope that they play off of my staff and feel me out, because that's the message I'm trying to day-to-day send."

Tony Wroten started at shooting guard for the Sixers in place of James Anderson, who did not make the trip after suffering a bruised right thigh Saturday in the loss to Memphis. Anderson also could miss Wednesday's game against Chicago at the Wells Fargo Center.

Wroten finished with 17 points while power forward Thaddeus Young had a team-high 23 against the Eastern Conference leading Pacers (50-17).

The Sixers pulled within 88-85 on Wroten's foul shots with 2 minutes, 52 seconds remaining. But Hill was left unguarded by Carter-Williams beyond the three-point line with 1:56 left. He took a pass from David West and buried the wide-open three to give his team a 91-85 advantage.

"We were there," Brown said. "It's a great example and learning lesson for Michael Carter-Williams, you know, leaving a corner."

Indiana extended its lead to 97-87 with 42.9 seconds left after three-point plays by Roy Hibbert and Paul George.

The game marked the second time in four days that the Sixers faced former teammates Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. They were traded to Indiana on Feb. 20 in exchange for Danny Granger and Golden State's 2015 second-round pick.

Turner finished with four points in 22:08 in a reserve role. Allen did not play. Nor did Andrew Bynum, who was a member of last season's Sixers squad. The 7-foot center has a swollen knee and has an MRI exam scheduled. He missed all of last season with chronically injured knees.

Even in the midst of this awful streak, the Sixers say they won't concede their remaining 15 games.

"I always feel that when we step out on the court, we have a chance to win the game just because of the nature of the NBA," said Young, whose team finished with 19 turnovers. "It is what it is. Good teams have bad days, too."


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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