DENVER -- Call it a calamity of errors. Label it simple mistakes. Refer to it as multiple brain lapses in two minutes of game time.
No matter how you want to put it, it goes in the books as another loss for the Sixers.
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Sixers down the stretch of a heartbreaking 101-100 loss to the Nuggets (see Instant Replay). The defeat was the Sixers’ 15th straight on the road as their record dropped to 26-42.
“We made five bad plays,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said. “We had a shot-clock violation. We missed a layup and gave up a dunk. We gave up a three. We missed two free throws and fouled a three-point shooter and we lose by one.”
Jrue Holiday committed the shot-clock violation. Evan Turner missed the layup, which Anthony Randolph turned into the dunk.
Holiday made two free throws with 14 seconds left to give the Sixers a 100-95 lead and belief that they would still snap the Nuggets’ 13-game winning streak.
That was until Corey Brewer, who had made four shots from three-point range, added a fifth with 9.2 seconds remaining.
The Sixers were still up two with 7.1 seconds to play and Turner on the line for a pair of free throws to ice the game. He missed both shots to give the Nuggets a final chance.
Denver found Brewer out of a timeout for another three-point attempt. This time he was fouled on the shot by Damien Wilkins with 2.1 ticks remaining on the clock and buried all three free throws to give the Nuggets the win.
“I was just trying to challenge the shot aggressively and not give him a clean look, but I was a little too aggressive and I cost my team a win tonight,” said Wilkins, whose shot at the final buzzer was blocked.
“It was interesting with a lot of misfortunes, but even still, I can’t foul a guy shooting a three-pointer when we are up two. We didn’t deserve to win that game and over-aggression cost us one.”
While the Sixers’ lack of execution in the clutch clearly played a major role, not everyone believed that was the deciding factor.
“That is not what lost the game,” Turner said of the Sixers’ late-game miscues. “Situations occurred and we don’t point fingers at anybody because that was some crazy stuff that just happened. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s been rough. It almost seems like a fluke to me.”
Still, the Sixers had their chances to put the game away. They entered the fourth quarter down by four but were able to turn it around.
Holiday drained a three and Wilkins scored the last of his team-high 24 points on a jumper to give the Sixers an eight-point lead with 2:06 left to play.
A team with players that have been through several regular seasons and playoff battles should know how to close a game like this out.
Not the Sixers. Not on this night.
“We had guys out there that played in 18 playoff games,” Collins said. “You don’t need to ask. I don’t know. I mean I didn’t have anything to do with Corey Brewer. We made a mistake and left him. We missed two free throws and had a shot-clock violation. I don’t know if that has anything to do with being calm or not.
“We made bad plays. We had the game in hand. We have to win that game. Denver is riding high, but we have to win that game. We are out here scratching on the road. We are not giving up on the season. We’re not going to make the playoffs, but we are not giving up on the season. It is disappointing.”