When Sixers head coach Doug Collins put Evan Turner into the starting lineup, the offense surged instantly, averaging over 101 points in the first four games, three of which were wins.
But in the last three games, the Sixers have seemed to be unsure of themselves at the offensive end. The team has produced an average of 84 points per game in those three games.
Ball movement, which was such a key when they were winning 20 of their first 29 games, has become spotty. More than at any time during the season there are a lot of individual attempts at breaking down defenses.
It was never as obvious as during Saturday's 89-80 in Chicago. For much of the night the team stood and watched Jrue Holiday try to win the game himself. Holiday did score a career-high 30 points, but as Collins likes to point out about his opponents, it took 27 shots to do it.
After Holiday, there was really nothing. Elton Brand took just two shots in almost 32 minutes of play. He had more assists (three) than points (two). Neither Lou Williams or Thaddeus Young, such great sparks off the bench all season long, could produce much and rookie Nikola Vucevic seems to have left his offensive game somewhere between Montenegro and Milwaukee.
“One of the things we struggle with is our halfcourt offense and they're a very good defensive team,” Collins said after the game. “They got us ground down to a halfcourt game.”
Perhaps this week will be an opportunity to get righted. The Sixers visit Charlotte on Monday night. The Bobcats have the worst record in the NBA. They then host important games against the team immediately behind them in the Atlantic Division, the Knicks on Wednesday and the Celtics on Friday.