Sixers fall to Bobcats for fourth straight loss

Tony Wroten of the Sixers fights for a rebound with Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies.
Tony Wroten of the Sixers fights for a rebound with Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies. (NIKKI BOERTMAN / The Commercial Appeal)
Posted: April 14, 2014

CHARLOTTE - The 76ers lost to the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

So what else is new?

The 111-105 decision marked the Sixers' fourth consecutive defeat and 32d loss in 34 games. But the Sixers (17-63) played much better than expected, especially coming off consecutive double-digit losses to the Memphis Grizzlies (Friday) and the Toronto Raptors (Wednesday) on this three-game road trip.

So this six-point setback could be seen as a moral victory for the tanking franchise.

"We competed all the way to the end in this game and showed a lot of character," said Sixers shooting guard James Anderson.

The Bobcats and Raptors have clinched Eastern Conference playoff spots. Memphis is slotted for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Western Conference. The Sixers are using this season to evaluate players and develop talent that might be on next season's squad.

With that, the Sixers looked at this road trip as a chance to gain experience against playoff teams.

"The regular season and playoffs aren't even the same sport," said Sixers coach Brett Brown, a former longtime assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. "It's an entirely different mentality, mind-set, the whole thing.

"So I'm happy to share with our guys: This is how it is when you are going to the playoffs and what a playoff team will play like."

Brown also expected to see improved effort over what the team showed in the 117-95 loss to Memphis. And that's what he got.

The Sixers led at the half and were competitive throughout. Once trailing by 16 points, they closed the gap to four, 105-101, on Thaddeus Young's jumper with 1 minute, 44 seconds left.

But that was as close as the Sixers got.

Al Jefferson had a lot to do with the outcome.

The Bobcats center finished with game highs of 29 points and 12 rebounds to go with two blocked shots. It was the 6-foot-10, 289-pounder's sixth straight game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds and his seventh straight double-double.

Dominant from the opening tip, Jefferson made his first six shots and finished 13 of 19 from the field. Twenty-one of his points came in the first half. He was one of seven Charlotte double-figure scorers.

"He's smart, skilled, and knows how to use his body," Sixers center Henry Sims said of what makes Jefferson so imposing. "He's a tough [person to] guard. And he's tricky with the pump-fake."

Michael Carter-Williams led the Sixers with 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

The Bobcats were without point guard Kemba Walker, their second-leading scorer at 17.8 points per game.

The 6-foot-1, 184-pound playmaker missed his second consecutive game with a sore right groin. There's a chance that Walker will return for Monday night's game at the Atlanta Hawks.

The Sixers were without reserve power forward Jarvis Varnado, who has a sore right heel.

Ware done? Saturday could have marked Casper Ware's final game as a Sixer.

The final day of the Sixer guard's second 10-day contract is Sunday. The team has the option of signing him through the final three days of the season or releasing him. Ware had seven points on 3-for-4 shooting in 12 minutes against the Bobcats.


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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