After starting out 3-0 the Philadelphia 76ers have slipped losing 11 out of their last 14 games. Last night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans was a big one because it marked the return of former 76er All-Star Jrue Holiday to the Wells Fargo Center. I’m sure guys from last year’s team like Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young wanted to prove that they didn’t need Jrue and that this team was going in the right direction, but it was Holiday who nearly had a triple double (20 points, seven rebounds 13 assists) and the Sixers couldn’t get out of their own way with silly mental mistakes throughout the entire game.
Michael Carter-Williams, who has been above and beyond the best rookie in the entire NBA this season, had one of his worst showings tonight. Perhaps he was trying to do too much because the guy he took over for was in town, but MCW was bad on both ends of the floor. He shot 4-for-13 from the floor, 1-for-6 from three and 1-for-4 from the foul line. Many of those field goal attempts included pull-ups where no one else touched the ball, a la Russell Westbrook. He also turned the ball over five times and appeared lost trying to pass out of a hedge from a pick and roll. Holiday also abused him while he was on the defensive end, blowing by him with ease every chance he got.
But he wasn’t the only one making mistakes. The team combined to shoot 9-for-21 from the free throw line — a disastrous 43 percent clip. Tony Wroten attacked the paint hard but missed at least one free throw in every one of his trips to the line — 5-for-9 overall. He also had four turnovers, including twice just chucking the ball down court off of a rebound. The team overall had 18 turnovers and 12 missed free throws. These are the things that contribute to losses and show why the Sixers can’t string together any wins after a hot start.
You could see head coach Brett Brown was visibly upset with the defensive effort, but how can you blame him? His team has allowed 105+ points in 13 of 17 games this season, and last night marked the third time they gave up over 120. But what can you expect when half of your rotation is rookies, cast-offs and guys who wouldn’t see the floor with any other team in the league? The Sixers are already at a disadvantage with the lack of talent that Sam Hinkie has supplied them so it would be nice to see them cut down on mental mistakes in order to stay in ballgames.