76ers come to screeching halt

Don't panic just yet. I know it seems like a panicky situation: a 28-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Really -- you could ask yourself -- what's the point of gutting out a victory over the Boston Celtics if you're just going to turn around and get absolutely demolished by the Milwaukee Bucks? Not the Orlando Magic or the Chicago Bulls (which we've seen before), but the Milwaukee Bucks.

Well, if you're frustrated and concerned, then I'm here to tell you that -- aside from the other fans joining you in the worry -- you'd be the only one. Doug Collins is fine. Lou Williams is fine. Evan Turner is fine. Collins might have done a little bit of "chin up" work after the game, but otherwise he's quite confident his team long ago turned the corner of self doubt and not even this loss, substantial as might have been, would plant the seed of doubt. Collins said he walked into the locker room after the game and said that these kinds of games will happen when you're giving the type of night-in, night-out effort that the Sixers have given all season. It was a tough back-to-back in the NBA schedule. Collins said he told his team that games like these are unavoidable and their job is simply to stick together as a team to change the outcome next time. 

"Our thing with them is: never twice in a row," Collins said.

Sweet Lou did not seem at all bent out of shape. After being asked if the team felt this loss was similar to the 45-point loss to the Bulls, Lou seemed to have been reminded of something. Turns out he had forgotten that was the last loss like this. 

"That goes to show how long ago it’s been since we got beat like that," Lou said. "That loss wasn’t even mentioned. I hadn’t thought about it until you just said it. It’s a situation where we just got kicked tonight."

Continued Lou: "We cool. Everybody is fine. I don’t think it’s a panic thing. It’s one of the biggest losses we’ve had in months. It happens when you play this type of scheduling. We’ve been playing good enough basketball and they just whacked us good."

Of course, it's only natural to become slightly concerned and worry that somehow tonight's game is the reality and the previous few weeks was a dream-like state from which you've now been awoken. But the Sixers themselves sound prepared to continue their winning ways on Monday night against the Utah Jazz.

On Twitter tonight (you can follow here: Deep Sixer) we were discussing whether tonight's game is just the result of an 82-game schedule and that you have to concede a few along the way. I think if you looked at all 30 teams, nearly all of them would have moments like tonight's. Yes, the timing (one month from season's end) seems bad, but in reality the Sixers have laid a second egg (including the Chicago game) with plenty of time left in the regular-season schedule and also at the front end of a five-game road swing. In a week, we might not even remember tonight's game. The other factor is the opponent. The Bucks' record (26-38) isn't good, but the team has been battling so many injuries all season long. Tonight, they had both Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings, and when they have those guys, they're a playoff team.

You could tell early in the game that this was going to turn out this way. Late in the first quarter, Andre Iguodala and Jodie Meeks were on the bench discussing some missed defensive rotations. There was gesticulating and head nodding and it was pretty evident that timing and execution weren't there from the outset. The Sixers allowed four three pointers in the first quarter, most of them wide open, and nine for the entire game.

"I told our coaches, 'We got no juice,'" Collins said. "You know when somebody has tired eyes -- you can’t fool that."

So you can either worry about what this loss means or you can do exactly what the Sixers are doing and completely forget about it. Like Collins said, with this team, it's not just this one game, it's about not letting it happen twice in a row.

One positive from tonight's game was that rookie Craig Brackins played the entire fourth quarter. Brackins was 0 for 5 with 0 points and 1 rebound, but for the first time since very early in the season, he got a chance to get his feet wet.

If you have a few minutes, I've embedded today's "Road Trip" video from here in Milwaukee. It's a little something different. We'll see how it goes down.


Each week, Kate will check in from the road and answer fan questions about the Sixers. Click here to ask Kate a question or e-mail her at kfagan@phillynews.com.

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