Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sixers go winless in February

The winter of the 76ers' discontent has perhaps hit its lowest point.

Sixers go winless in February


The winter of the 76ers' discontent has perhaps hit its lowest point.

They dropped their 12th consecutive game Wednesday night with a 101-90 loss to the struggling Orlando Magic at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers also went winless (0-11) in the month of February. The last time they went winless in a month was in March 1973 (0-13).

"We're good, and life moves on," said coach Brett Brown, whose Sixers lost 22 of their last 25 games. "The locker room is good. We win together, and we lose together.

"We saw improvement. The last game [Monday's 130-110 setback to the Milwaukee Bucks] stunk. This game we move on."

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But Wednesday's loss came to a Magic team whose previous road win came on Dec. 16 at the Chicago Bulls. Since then, Orlando (18-42) had lost 16 consecutive games away from Amway Center.

On the bright side, the Sixers played with somewhat more energy than they did Monday night. But the group still looks and is playing like what it is: a team content with sacrificing wins to increase its chances for the top pick in the draft.

There were times when it was obvious that the Sixers were evaluating players to see who might fit into their future. They also went to a small lineup late, with Thaddeus Young (a 6-foot-8 power forward) playing center and Hollis Thompson (a 6-8 swingman) at power forward.

"I just think right now [Brown] is trying to get a feel for what lineups are working and what lineups are not going to work," said Young, who finished with a team-high 19 points. "As a coach, you have to get a feel for the player just as well as the player get a feel for the game."

This game was a reminder of the disastrous Andrew Bynum trade, which has ultimately led to the Sixers' rebuilding.

The Sixers shipped Nik Vucevic and Maurice Harkless to Orlando in the four-team trade. Monday was a sort of happy homecoming for the duo.

The Sixers had no answer for Vucevic, while Harkless produced his 18th double-figure scoring effort.

Vucevic finished with game highs of 21 points and 13 rebounds. The 7-foot, 250-pound center also had three blocked shots. Harkless, a second-year swingman, added 13 points.

They weren't the only Orlando players with solid performances, as the Magic had six double-digit scorers.

The inability to stop the Magic's balanced attack, combined with woeful shooting, doomed the Sixers.

They shot 36.8 percent from the field. Backcourt mates Michael Carter-Williams and James Anderson combined to shoot 6 for 24.

But the Sixers had a halftime lead for the first time in seven games. That didn't sit well with Magic veteran Jameer Nelson, the former St. Joseph's star.

"It felt like a bird pooped on your head. Disgusted," he said.

The Magic took the lead for good on a Nelson three-pointer that made it a 59-56 game with 11 minutes, 40 seconds left.

Contact and follow 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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