Reeling Sixers crushed by Speights, Warriors


Reeling Sixers crushed by Speights, Warriors


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.

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel undergoes surgery on sore left knee

Nerlens Noel has had surgery on his sore left knee, and the Sixers have not disclosed a timetable for the disgruntled center's return.

Noel has been out since the team's first preseason game. He initially had a left groin strain before experiencing soreness in the knee during rehab, and it was discovered he had an inflamed plica. 

The team is calling the surgery a "minor elective arthroscopic procedure." It was performed in New York by Dr. Riley J. Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Noel eventually will travel to Birmingham, Ala. to rehab with associate clinical director Kevin Wilk at Champion Sports Medicine.

The Sixers expect to have a timetable for his return once Noel returns to Philadelphia. According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Noel is expected to miss three to five weeks. 

This has been a rough preseason for Noel, who hasn't hidden his displeasure with his role on the Sixers' jammed frontcourt. The team has until Oct. 31 to extend his rookie contract but, per a report in the Inquirer earlier this month, the two sides have yet to discuss it. 

Sixers still deciding who will start opener, how long Jahlil Okafor will play

Sixers still deciding who will start opener, how long Jahlil Okafor will play

CAMDEN, N.J. — Brett Brown doesn’t have many options at his disposal for opening night against the Thunder, but a day before the Sixers' regular-season tip-off, he still is considering how to utilize his shorthanded roster.

What Brown is sure of is Joel Embiid will be capped at 20 minutes in five four-minute segments. Embiid, coming off two years of foot injuries, began the preseason playing 12.

The Sixers have not locked in a minutes restriction on Jahlil Okafor. The second-year big man aggravated his right knee during training camp and played eight minutes in his first preseason game last Friday.

“You’ll intermittently sub that and Richaun Holmes will make up the rest,” Brown said after practice Tuesday. “The five-spot is locked in with those three, and I feel like tomorrow we’ll be able to better figure out how many four-minute sections does Jahlil actually get.”

Brown started Sergio Rodriguez, Gerald Henderson, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Embiid in the final two preseason games. On Tuesday he did not announce a starting five, specifically a point guard. That role is between Rodriguez and T.J. McConnell because of the injury to Jerryd Bayless (wrist). 

“Still considering a lot,” Brown said of the one-spot. “Not prepared right now to say one thing or another.”

Rodriguez, who has been practicing with the white squad, anticipates he will be given the nod. It will be his first regular-season game in the NBA since 2010.

“Yes, I expect, but for me that doesn’t matter,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to be a big game for everybody. Everybody needs to be ready. We will need all we have to beat them.”

The Sixers' inactive list includes Bayless, Ben Simmons (foot) and Nerlens Noel (knee), all of whom could be starters if healthy. With so many injuries to major contributors and the implementation of segmented minutes, Brown will have to look down his bench over the course of four quarters.

“We’re going to have to go 10-deep. I bet we could even go 11-deep,” he said. “We’re in a very unusual circumstance that players can’t play multiple minutes. ... That, coupled with I think you can’t expect to have the energy and effort that we want on the floor without giving people six-minute chunks.” 

The Sixers and Thunder face off at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.