The Sixers have had their share of humiliating losses this season. That’s just the way it is in a rebuilding season.
There was the 37-point defeat in New Orleans and the 36-point loss in Brooklyn.
The latter defeat was punctuated by a 29-point quarter from the Nets' Joe Johnson. No one dumped nearly 30 in a quarter during Friday's 125-99 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay). Then again, that would have just been piling on.
As far as humiliation goes, the Sixers had that covered against the Hawks.
It's about the only thing the team did cover in the 26-point defeat.
“It was the poorest performance of our season,” coach Brett Brown said in not mincing words. “It’s one of the few times this season where the effort wasn’t there. The effort wasn’t there.”
It was ugly for the Sixers. Really ugly. During the first quarter, the team scored just seven baskets and Thad Young had six of them. The Sixers also committed 10 turnovers in the opening quarter with nine coming in the first five minutes of the game. Worse, the Hawks got open shot after open shot.
The trend of Young as the only player making contributions to the stat sheet continued during the half. Young shot 8 for 14 for 23 of his game-high 29 points during the first half while his teammates combined to go 9 for 26.
“Thad was our shining light, offensively,” Brown said. “But as a group, we have no appreciation for the importance of playing defense. You either play defense or you don’t. It’s not something you decide to do here or not over there. You either do or you don’t. It’s a mindset and it’s the sport. We need to see the sport through that lens or we’re going to have those types of nights.”
The Sixers seemingly couldn't hit the ocean if they fell off the Titantic on Friday night. Tony Wroten came off the bench and went 1 for 13. Starting shooting guard James Anderson fired up a goose egg on six shots. That included a missed dunk and a couple of missed chippies in the paint.
Just to add more insult to an insulting performance, the Sixers did not score a bucket in the final 2:43 of the game, missing their last six shots.
It wouldn't have been so bad if the Sixers weren't stuck on 99 points and the remaining fans stuck around just to cheer for 100 points and the free Big Mac that goes with it.
Instead, Sixers' fans went home hungry with nary a leftover chicken wing from the morning's Wing Bowl to sate them.
“In my opinion, until you really feel like every score is a problem. Why? You want to seek answers. You want to have an accountability where it’s a group thing, it’s a team thing,” Brown said. “Until you can really do that, you’re going to see these types of nights.
“It’s a mindset where you try to get back in it from the wrong end of the floor. It has to be from the [defensive] side of the floor. Bottom line is [defense] is where the culture of the program has to be built and will be built or we’re not going anywhere.”
Indeed, it was grim for the Sixers as they watched former teammates Elton Brand, Kyle Korver, Shelvin Mack and Lou Williams light it up for 49 points. Brand got a season-high and team-high 18 of those in 23 minutes to lead the Hawks' balanced attack.
The Sixers’ attack was equally as balanced, just at the other end of the spectrum. Evan Turner had six points on 2 for 10 shooting with four turnovers and a technical foul. Spencer Hawes added six points with a technical and could only stay on the floor for 18 minutes.
Rookie Michael Carter-Williams would have produced an equally as ugly stat line if it hadn't been for the nine points during garbage time in the fourth quarter.
“It was a bad night,” Turner understated. “We didn’t do much on defense and we turned it over too much.”
Young, who was skipped over in a long-shot All-Star bid in favor of the Hawks’ Paul Millsap, seemed to want to prove something to the opposing power forward. He didn’t get much help from his teammates.
“There’s going to be nights like that, where one guy has it going and the rest are having a pretty slow night,” Young said.
Meanwhile, the Sixers failed to follow Wednesday’s dramatic buzzer-beater victory in Boston with another solid performance. Instead, the Sixers have not won back-to-back games since Jan. 4 and have just two two-game winning streaks this season.
The Sixers won’t have long to dwell on the loss as they head to Michigan to take on the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. After that one, the Sixers go to Brooklyn for a game on Monday night.