‘Embarrassing’ 76ers finish 2019 in crisis
YIKES. The 76ers finished 2019 in the worst way possible with an atrocious 115-97 defeat against the Indiana Pacers on the road.
Sure star centre Joel Embiid was missing with knee soreness, but after a 38-16 second quarter the Pacers blew the lead out to 30-plus in the third before taking their foot off the gas down the stretch.
The 76ers never found the gas pedal to record their third straight defeat since crushing the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas Day.
Brett Brown's squad fell to 23-13, including just seven wins in 18 road games, and into sixth place in the conference standings.
The #sixers look like they couldn't care less about this game. Embarrassing.— Michael K-B (@therealmikekb) December 31, 2019
Ben Simmons put up an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double but also coughed up six turnovers. Josh Richardson top scored for Philly with 20 points.
"I don't think there's enough accountability in our locker room right now, honestly," Richardson said post-game.
"We got some new guys who don't want to step on toes, including myself. I feel like we kind of go play, and don't compete as much."
The perceived lack of effort led to another social meltdown as the basketball world struggles to decide if this is squad that has serious problems - problems that need fixing before the tradeline - or can turn it on when it matters.
Hard to take the Sixers seriously as contenders with such poor defensive efforts and unimaginative offensive gameplans like we saw today vs. the Pacers. Scary part is it's more than one issue: Brett Brown's system, Ben Simmons' scoring, lack of shot creators, spacing, and so on.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) December 31, 2019
Since soundly defeating Milwaukee 121-109 on Christmas Eve, they have dropped straight road games in Orlando, Miami and now Indianapolis.
The Pacers received a big lift with the return of Malcolm Brogdon after he missed the three previous games yet he missed all five shots, aggravated his back and excited the game in the first quarter.
Still, the Pacers took advantage of Embiid's absence and bolted to a commanding 67-43 advantage at halftime. Warren led the way with 21 points and knocked down all nine of his shots in the first half.
Simmons paced the Sixers with 12 points and seven rebounds by halftime. However they continued to struggle mightily with their shooting and weren't able to cut much into the lead as they trailed 96-66 after the third.
Things are so bad, Sixers fans at the game are chanting “We want TJ” for former Sixer TJ McConnell.— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) December 31, 2019
The Sixers getting aired out like an old car...— Dart_Adams (@Dart_Adams) December 31, 2019
My viewpoint all year has been and still is that even though the Sixers are a bizarre team who plays some hideous basketball, they'll probably win ~52 games and be frisky in the playoffs.— Mike O'Connor (@MOConnor_NBA) December 31, 2019
That said, the amount of malaise they have in most games definitely means something.
There’s some irony in the fact that the Sixers finally built a team that can beat the Celtics ... and it’s THIS Sixers team that so closely resembles last year’s Celtics.— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) December 31, 2019
This last Sixers game of 2019 isn’t going to mean a thing when the 2020 version finds a weird way to blow out every good team in the playoffs because they decide to care all of a sudden.— Dennis Chambers (@DennisChambers_) December 31, 2019
Enjoy your NYE. Stop bugging about a December basketball game.