76ers fall to Thunder, 109-85
OKLAHOMA CITY - A discrepancy in the number of free throws - too often in the opponent's favor - has come up after 76ers losses this season.
There was some talk of that Friday night after the Northwest Division-leading Oklahoma City Thunder extended their winning streak over the 76ers with a 109-85 beating at a sold-out Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Nick Young, who led the Sixers (15-19) with 21 points, was the only Sixer to attempt a free throw, making 6 of 8. But that didn't much matter when the Thunder got rolling, as they did in the second half.
The Sixers, who will close out this eight-game road trip on Saturday against Southwest Division-leading San Antonio, lost this game because the defending Western Conference champs are just in a different league from the visitors.
With Olympic gold medalists Russell Westbrook (game-high 27 points) and Kevin Durant (26) leading the way, the Thunder outscored the Sixers, 63-43, in the second half to turn what had been a close game at halftime - the Thunder led by 46-44 - into a rout.
"They made that one big push," Sixers coach Doug Collins said of the Thunder, who connected on 63.9 of their shots in the second half and 10 of 17 three-pointers. "But they are a tremendous team. They are a team that will hit you with a surge, and that's what they did."
Part of that surge produced 20 turnovers, which the Thunder turned into 21 points.
Collins was miffed that the Sixers, who got 15 points and nine assists from Jrue Holiday, didn't get to the line.
"One guy, and nobody else shot a free throw," Collins said. "I mean, what else more am I going to say? I've been saying the same for three years. We've got to be stronger, take that ball to the line, and make them foul us."
Of course, even if the Thunder didn't make one of the 21 free throws they converted, they still would have beaten the Sixers.
For the first time all season after a loss there was talk about not taking jump shots and getting to the rim and drawing fouls.
"In certain situations I think we rely on pull-ups and trying to get a cleaner shot rather than going in and trying to get a call," said Evan Turner, who finished with five points.
Contact John N. Mitchell at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.