Monday, November 30, 2015

Sixers sag to 14th straight defeat

ORLANDO - Back in the building where a former 76er dominated them on Thanksgiving eve, the Sixers sought a different outcome on Sunday night in this season's final meeting with the Orlando Magic.

Sixers sag to 14th straight defeat

Thaddeus Young in action (Chris Szagola/AP).
Thaddeus Young in action (Chris Szagola/AP).

ORLANDO - Back in the building where a former 76er dominated them on Thanksgiving eve, the Sixers sought a different outcome on Sunday night in this season's final meeting with the Orlando Magic.

But a lot has changed for the worse since their last trip to the Amway Center. It could be argued that the Sixers are in rebuilding purgatory after the Feb. 20 trades that shipped Spencer Hawes to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen to the Indiana Pacers.

On paper, the Sixers had little chance of avenging the November setback, along with Wednesday's loss to Orlando at home.

But the Magic, also in a rebuilding stage, opted to play without starters Jameer Nelson and Arron Affalo. That made for an interesting game, one that Orlando came back to win, 92-81.

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The Sixers lost their 14th straight game and dropped to 15-45. The losing streak is the team's longest since they dropped 15 straight from Feb. 9 to March 11, 1994. Sunday also marked their 24th loss in 27 games.

Once again, former Sixer Nikola Vucevic dominated his former team. But Tobias Harris and second-half turnovers did in the Sixers.

"As a team we played good team defense," said Sixers reserve guard Elliot Williams. "But like you said, turnovers in the late third to early fourth killed us."

The Sixers led by 64-56 after Michael Carter-Williams' running jumper with 4 minutes, 46 seconds left in the third quarter. Looking to get his starters some rest, Sixers coach Brett Brown began to insert his reserves.

They went on to turn the ball over on five of their next nine possessions and the 76ers' lead shrank to three points, 67-64, with 51.7 seconds left in the quarter.

The reserves stayed in the game at the start of the fourth quarter. Four turnovers later, the Sixers were trailing, 77-71, with 8:25 to play.

"We as a team forced too much," Brown said. The Sixers recorded 13 of their 19 turnovers after intermission. Eric Maynor had three turnovers and Tony Wroten had five.

"Sixteen [turnovers] came from our point guards," said Brown, who indicated that the offense was limited because of the infusion of new players.

Three players made their third appearance with the Sixers after being acquired in trades: center Henry Sims (from Cleveland), reserve center Byron Mullens (Los Angeles Clippers), and Maynor (Washington).

The turnovers wiped out solid performances by Thaddeus Young and Michael Carter-Williams.

Young scored 18 of his 29 points in the second half. The power forward added eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Carter-Williams had 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists. However, the rookie point guard finished with 8 turnovers.

Harris scored 19 of his game-high 31 points in the first half to lead the Magic. Vucevic added 18 points and 17 rebounds while recording his 28th double-double of the season.

This was the fifth consecutive game that Affalo missed. He had been dealing with a sprained right ankle. More recently, the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder has had a cold. There was a thought that Affalo was healthy enough to play against the Sixers. However, Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn wants to see him practice before inserting him in a game.

Nelson, a Chester native and former star at St. Joseph's, was sidelined with a sore calf.

 Folllow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers

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About this blog

Keith Pompey has been an Inquirer reporter since September 2004 and took over the Sixers beat in the summer of 2013 after covering Temple basketball and football for the previous three years.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
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