The Philadelphia 76ers now have a season-high five game losing streak as they dropped tonight’s game to the Toronto Raptors 108-100. The one positive to take away was that this was the first time they were able to crack 100 points during the losing steak, but again, they surrendered more than 100, and the culprit for this loss yet again was mental and physical lapses on the defensive end of the floor.
It started in the first quarter where they surrendered 36 points to the Raptors on 14-for-21 shooting. They were able to climb themselves out of that hole and cut the lead down to eight by halftime, but it seemed like every time the Sixers got it close, they would fall asleep for a few possessions and the lead would balloon back up near double digits.
In the fourth quarter, the Sixers cut it down to five at 87-82 and they proceeded to give up threes on three straight possessions, including two from Grievis Vasquez to extend the lead to 14. But the Sixers came storming back and cut it down to a two point game at 100-98 with one minute 55 seconds left to play, and right out of the timeout, Terrence Ross came down and hit another three. The dagger came when James Anderson bit badly on a pump fake and Demar Derozan flew by for an uncontested jumper to ice it.
Poor fundamentals cost the Sixers another one — biting on pump fakes, giving up 40 percent on threes (10-for-25), and surrendering 10 offensive rebounds. Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young, the teams starting center and power forward, combined for only eight rebounds; their counterparts of Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson put up 23. That’s a lack of effort and desire to commit on the defensive glass.
I am going to harp on this all year. You are going to hear a lot about the mistakes that the Sixers make and how it costs them games. But the truth of the matter remains, this is exactly what Sam Hinkie wants. Score points, be competitive, but make sure you lose. As a fan, I’m going to nitpick the things they need to do to win ball games still, and tonight it was again a poor defensive performance.