Philadelphia 76ers v Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia 76ers v Indiana Pacers

‘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.

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.

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.