Sixers go down to their 23d straight loss

Posted: March 23, 2014

The ball bounced awry and tapped the white end line. James Anderson short-armed the pass and Thaddeus Young tried to reach it, but he never had a chance.

There were 8.6 seconds left on Friday night in the Sixers' 93-92 loss to the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center. And for a moment it appeared that the Sixers' 22-game losing streak was no longer safe.

But the referee blew his whistle, Anderson's pass went out of bounds, and the Sixers' hopes were dashed.

It was their 23d straight loss. They continue to creep closer to the NBA record of 26 straight set in 2011 by Cleveland.

Before the turnover, head coach Brett Brown huddled his team and called for them to work the play around Anderson. It was Anderson's first game back after missing two with a thigh injury. He finished with eight points and six rebounds.

The Sixers had rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit. But the coach said he did not have confidence the Sixers could win in overtime. Brown wanted Anderson to go for a three-pointer and the win. He had made just one of his 10 three-point attempts to that point.

The play broke down almost as soon as it started. Anderson drove the lane, absorbed a bit of contact and tossed the pass away. He said the contact caused his pass to "come off funny."

"But it happens, there wasn't a call," said Anderson. "That's how the game goes."

Carmelo Anthony then hit one of two free throws, putting New York ahead by three. Michael Carter-Williams' three-pointer rattled in-and-out just before the buzzer and Young converted the putback, but it was not enough.

Tony Wroten hobbled to the locker room just before the Sixers made their late run. He sprained his right ankle after stepping on a New York player. He will not board the team's flight to Chicago. Wroten finished with 12 points and four assists.

The Sixers launched a franchise-record 41 three-pointers. But they made just 10.

"A few times, I felt that we could've done something else with it," said Brown. "But I thought that's what the game gave us and I'm OK with that."

The loss pulls the Sixers within two games of Milwaukee for the league's worst record. Both teams have 13 games remaining. The team with the worst record has the best chances of securing the top pick in June's NBA draft.

Jabari Parker, one of the candidates to be selected with that top pick, told ESPN that his college career is incomplete after Duke was upset by Mercer on Friday afternoon. The 6-foot-8 forward is unsure if he will head to the draft after one season.

Brown apologized before the game. He said he could not give his "honest comments."

His team dug itself a hole in the fourth quarter after its interior defense collapsed around New York forward Amar'e Stoudemire. He finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Stoudemire threw down a tomahawk slam in the fourth over Young to highlight the team's run.

The Knicks fans - who seemed to dominate the crowd of 12,745 - roared when Stoudemire tacked on another slam. Then Tim Hardaway Jr. followed with a pair of his own.

The Knicks fans rocked. the rout seemed to be on.

But then the Sixers rallied - until the ball bounced funny.


mbreen@phillynews.com

@matt_breen

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