PORTLAND, Ore. — The 76ers are back to losing.
After beating the New York Knicks on Christmas Day, the Sixers had hoped to keep their momentum Thursday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. Instead, they blew an 18-point lead en route to suffering a 114-110 setback at the Moda Center.
“Turnovers had a lot to do with it,” Joel Embiid said of the Sixers blowing their lead. “A lot of stuff didn’t go our way. They shot a lot of free throws. We didn’t for some reason.”
On this night, the Blazers (18-16) attempted 36 of 47 foul shots compared to the Sixers (15-19) going 10-for-14 from the line. Embiid’s squad also committed eight of their 14 turnovers in the fourth quarter.
That led to their 10th loss in 12 games.
Meanwhile, the Blazers extending one winning streak and snapped a losing skid.
This marked their first home victory in seven games. However, Portland has won four straight series matchups against the Sixers in Portland. The Blazers were without two-time all-star point guard Damian Lillard, who missed his third consecutive game with a right hamstring injury.
But he wasn’t missed, as the Sixers blew another second-half lead. This time, they were up 18 points in the third quarter.
Maintaining their cushion, the Sixers led by 88-74 after JJ Redick’s three-pointer with 11 minutes, 11 seconds remaining. However, the Blazers responded with a 19-0 run to take a 93-88 advantage. The Sixers didn’t score their next points until Ben Simmons hit a pair of foul shots with 6:12 to play.
They were down three points (111-108) after Embiid’s three-pointer with nine seconds remaining. However, Dario Saric was called for a line violation when the Blazers tried to inbound the ball.
CJ McCollum converted the technical foul. Then Pat Connaughton added two more foul shots to give the Blazers a six-point lead with 5.2 seconds left.
“We’re frustrated not just in losing, but how we are losing,” Redick said. “But we’ll turn it around.”
Portland scored 42 points in the fourth quarter. The Sixers shot just 38.1 percent in the quarter.
Embiid has his idea why the Blazers were able to go on a run.
“We didn’t get any calls,” he said. “The big fella [Jusuf] Nurkic played well, especially in the fourth quarter with five fouls. I thought there was a couple of calls that could have gone my way and him fouling.
“It was a big piece of them taking that lead in the fourth quarter. But you know, it’s on us. We can’t be blowing leads like that.”
McCollum erased memories of a dismal outing against the Sixers on Nov. 22 at the Wells Fargo Center. The Blazers shooting guard finished with a game-high 34 points on 9-for-20 shooting. He also made all 14 of his foul shots to go with seven rebounds, four assists and one steal.
Shabazz Napier, who started in place of Lillard, finished with a season-high 23 points. Fifteen came on the fourth quarter. Portland center Nurkic added 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Embiid paced the Sixers with 29 points and nine rebounds. The center made career-high six three-pointers on a career-high 12 attempts. Saric finished with 25 points and nine rebounds while making 5 of 6 three-pointers.
Redick added 19 points and made 4 of 9 three-pointers.
Robert Covington suffered a game-ending injury to his left middle finger. The Sixers couldn’t bend his fingertip.