Reeling Sixers crushed by Speights, Warriors

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Reeling Sixers crushed by Speights, Warriors

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OAKLAND -- The Sixers were just a tad better on Monday night.

After suffering a 45-point defeat to the Clippers on Sunday, the Sixers lost by 43 in a 123-80 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on Monday (see Instant Replay).

The Sixers, who lost for the seventh straight time and watched their record dip to 15-38, became just the second team in NBA history to lose consecutive games by 40 points or more. The first team was the 1994 76ers.

The last games would suggest that the Sixers are not giving the necessary effort to compete. While head coach Brett Brown understands that logic, he still sees something different.

“It is hard for everybody because the reality is they have put in so much time. Despite all the turmoil, they are a group that has stayed together,” Brown said. “At times you look up and you have to keep on playing with some level of dignity and it is hard doing that, but for the most part I thought they did that.”

Former Sixer Marreese Speights caught fire in the critical second quarter when he scored 17 of the Warriors’ 37 points. Golden State outscored the Sixers 37-12 during the second quarter to turn an eight-point advantage into a 66-33 lead at the break.

Game over.

“I don’t think that score was reflective of the defense,” Brown insisted. “We couldn’t score. We couldn’t make a shot. Look at what we shot from the three-point line the last two nights (a combined 5 for 45), and then that carries over to the other side.”

Despite the game being well in hand, that didn’t stop Speights from pouring it on against his former team. The forward added 15 more points after intermission to finish with a career-high 32 points and eight rebounds.

“He had a rhythm,” Brown said. “The crowd was encouraging him to continue on. He had a preference of shooting jump shots and tonight he was really good at it and we give him credit.”

It didn’t matter where the Sixers’ shots were coming from on the floor, they simply weren’t going in the basket. They shot 36.7 percent in the game and had 11 shots blocked.

“To lose like that is tough, but at the same time there are 30 more games on the schedule,” said Evan Turner, who scored 12 points. “It is a choice, feeling defeated is a choice. We just have to keep our heads up and stay together.”

Brown knew there would be nights like this when he agreed to become the Sixers’ coach and he feels it’s his obligation to keep his players’ spirits high during these tough times.

“The situation is real in regards to working hard and spending time with one another,” Brown said. “How do you keep it up? Who knows. I know everybody is going to make sure they do their job and make sure they remember who is in the room. There are good people in that room.”

The Sixers will attempt to put this behind them when they close out their three-game road trip against Utah on Wednesday.

Sixers-Magic 5 things: Hoping for a dry court with rested roster

Sixers-Magic 5 things: Hoping for a dry court with rested roster

The Sixers (4-14) will tip off against the Orlando Magic (7-12) at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night (7 p.m./CSN and CSNPhilly.com).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Floored
Let's try this again.

The Sixers will return to the Wells Fargo Center court for the first time since Wednesday's game against the Sacramento Kings was postponed because of moisture on the floor.

While the Sixers were frustrated that they couldn't face the Kings, the team was also happy that player safety was made the top priority in the postponement decision.

"It was disappointing not to play," head coach Brett Brown said after practice on Thursday. "It got to a stage the longer that it went and it was being prolonged and prolonged, I'm glad that ultimately we didn't play."

2. Rested and ready
The postponement of Wednesday's game means the Sixers haven't played since Monday's road loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Center Joel Embiid should be even more rested than his teammates since he didn't make the trip north of the border because it was the second game of a back-to-back set.

When Embiid does return to action Friday against the Magic, he will have a little more freedom. The NBA's Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month had his minutes restriction raised from 24 to 28 earlier this week.

That should only mean good things for Embiid, who turned in a strong effort when the Sixers faced off against the Magic earlier this season. Embiid recorded 18 points and 10 boards for his first-ever double-double in a 103-101 loss to Orlando back on Nov. 1.

3. Protection plan
Perhaps Embiid's bump in minutes will help the Sixers better protect the paint this time around.

During the season's first meeting, in which the Sixers blew an 18-point lead, the Magic scored a massive 60 points in the paint. Former Sixer Nikola Vucevic and Serge Ibaka led the way with 45 combined points.

The Sixers can't allow that type of production inside, especially from a team that ranks 25th in the league with an average of 39.5 points in the paint per game.

4. Injuries
Jerryd Bayless (wrist), Nerlens Noel (knee) and Ben Simmons (foot) are out for the Sixers.

Former Sixer Jodie Meeks (foot) is a game-time decision for the Magic.

5. This and that
- The Sixers have lost three straight to the Magic.

- Vucevic has averaged 20.3 points and 13.2 rebounds against the Sixers during his career.

- Dario Saric scored a career-high 21 points on 9 of 14 shooting in the season's first clash.

Nerlens Noel assigned to D-League again for practice

Nerlens Noel assigned to D-League again for practice

Nerlens Noel is going back to the D-League to continue his left knee rehab.

The Sixers assigned Noel to their Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, on Friday to practice with the team. Noel also practiced with the Sevens on Wednesday before his first practice with the Sixers on Thursday.

This season the Sixers have been utilizing their D-League affiliation as a resource during injury recoveries. Jerryd Bayless (wrist) practiced twice with the team ahead of his season debut.

Noel underwent elective arthroscopic knee surgery in October. On Thursday he participated in live work and scripting with the Sixers. After practice, he maintained his stance on the Sixers crowded frontcourt. 

“I don't think the roster's changed,” Noel said Thursday. “So, I don't think the roster's changed.”

The Sixers do not practice on Friday. They have a morning shootaround before their game against the Magic at 7p.m.