Sixers tie NBA record with 26th straight loss

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Sixers tie NBA record with 26th straight loss

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON – The 76ers continue to lose, and James Anderson continues to flourish against the Rockets, his former team.

Anderson’s 30 points led the Sixers. But they needed more players that can shoot to keep up with the Rockets, who en route to a 120-98 win at Toyota Center on Thursday, handed the 76ers their 26th consecutive loss (see Instant Replay).

The Sixers' defeat matched the NBA record for most consecutive losses in a single season set by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010-11. In the process, the 76ers lowered their record to 15-57.

“We try not to pay any attention to it but we have a lot of people talking about it, so it’s hard to ignore,” Anderson said from a depressed locker room. “We’re in a rebuilding process and we have a lot of guys fighting for a job next year and we’ll continue to improve and fight for the rest of the year.

“We can’t get down. We don’t want to hang our head on this. We’re trying to win every time we go out.”

Earlier Thursday, 76ers coach Brett Brown said he was proud and pleased to coach this team, despite the mounting losses.

“Had we sprinkled those 15 wins out differently, the attention wouldn’t be as it is,” Brown said. “We still don’t have the poorest record in the league.”

Anderson tried his best to get a win for the Sixers, who shot only 38.9 percent from the field (35 of 90) and were 14 of 36 on three-pointers. The 6-foot-6 Anderson was 11 of 18 shooting, 6 of 11 on threes.

In an earlier meeting this year, a 123-117 home overtime win for the Sixers, Anderson hit a game-tying three with 6.6 seconds left to force overtime. En route to 36 points that game, Anderson was 12 of 16 shooting, 6 of 8 on three-pointers.

Both of Anderson’s career 30-plus point games have come against the Rockets.

Anderson said one reason he plays well against the Rockets is because of James Harden, who led the Rockets on Thursday with 26 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds while playing only three quarters. Anderson likes being tested against one of the league’s premier players.

“To go up against a great talent like James Harden, I got to embrace it and take the challenge,” Anderson said.

Michael Carter-Williams, one of the league’s top rookies, had 10 assists but was only 2 of 11 from the field, missing all three of his three-point attempts. He’s well aware of the losing streak that the 76ers will attempt to end on Saturday at home versus Detroit.

“After the game a couple of guys had long faces, including myself,” Carter-Williams said. “It is important we don’t get down on ourselves.

“It’s a tough thing to swallow. This is a great group of guys still fighting, still trying to win.”

A reverse layup by Anderson tied the game 43-43. But an alley-oop dunk by Dwight Howard from Jeremy Lin gave the Rockets a 45-43 lead with 5:59 remaining in the second quarter. After Anderson’s basket, the Rockets outscored the Sixers 20-6 to take a 63-49 halftime advantage.

“There were periods we lost focus,” Brown said. “Small things like that, there’s no wiggle room. There’s no margin of error with us.

“If we are going to steal a win, you just can’t have those small periods out there.”

Sixers-Nuggets 5 things: Defense needs to improve to stop skid

Sixers-Nuggets 5 things: Defense needs to improve to stop skid

The Sixers (4-16) close out their four-game homestand against the Denver Nuggets (7-13) at the Wells Fargo Center tonight (7:00/CSN and CSNPhilly.com).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Missing the stop sign
Apparently, tis the season for giving up points.

The Sixers' defense folded again in their latest loss, a 107-106 defeat to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night. The Sixers have allowed 107.8 points per game this season (25th in the NBA) and 109.1 during their six-game losing skid.

The Sixers let All-Star Isaiah Thomas do the damage on Saturday as he scored 37 points to become the fifth point guard to reach the 30-point plateau against them this season.

On the other side, the Nuggets' defense has actually been even worse. They rank 27th in the league with 109.5 points allowed per game.

2. Hello again
With Joel Embiid also making his debut this season, Dario Saric was always going to play second fiddle when it came to rookies on the Sixers' roster. That has certainly been the case now that Embiid has been putting up dominant numbers while Saric has been up and down.

However, Saric was on the same level as his fellow rookie against the Celtics. The Croatian broke out of a recent slump to notch a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, which both matched career highs.

That performance also included this highlight-reel moment when Saric destroyed Jonas Jerebko's ankles (see video).

“I prepared a little bit more for this game,” Saric said (see story). “After I have some bad rhythm of five or six, maybe, games. Now I concentrate more. I try to give my best, try to play my best, try to think before everything happens.”

3. Clean the glass
The Sixers will need a similar effort from Saric on the boards if they want to compete with the Nuggets.

Denver is the No. 1 rebounding team in the entire NBA with 49.6 rebounds per game. The Nuggets attack the glass on both ends, too, as they are tops in defensive rebounding and No. 2 in offensive rebounding.

The offensive boards are also a main reason Denver sits third in second-chance points with 15.6 a night.

None of that bodes well for a Sixers team that rates just 20th overall in rebounding.

4. Injuries
Jahlil Okafor (gastroenteritis) is questionable. Robert Covington (knee/illness), Jerryd Bayless (wrist), Nerlens Noel (knee) and Ben Simmons (foot) are out for the Sixers.

Nikola Jokic (wrist) and Gary Harris (foot) are out for the Nuggets.

5. This and that
• The Sixers lost both meetings with the Nuggets last season by a combined four points.

• Monday's game will feature both players who won the NBA's Rookie of the Month awards in Embiid and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray. Embiid is averaging 18.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 23.2 minutes per game. Murray is putting up 9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 21.7 minutes a night.

• In seven career games against the Sixers, Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried has averaged 7.6 points and 6.9 rebounds. Those are actually his lowest and third-lowest marks, respectively, against any NBA team.

Joel Embiid to play Monday vs. Nuggets; Jahlil Okafor questionable (illness)

Joel Embiid to play Monday vs. Nuggets; Jahlil Okafor questionable (illness)

CAMDEN, N.J. -- In following with his back-to-back plan, Joel Embiid will play Monday against the Nuggets at home and will not play Tuesday against the Grizzlies in Memphis. Embiid will be on a 28-minute restriction, established last week. 

"Obviously I wanted to play against Memphis," Embiid said after shootaround Monday. "Marc Gasol, great guy to play against. I wanted to do that but we've got Denver, especially at home. I know the fans that want to see team, that want to see me play. So that was a big factor into choosing, deciding to play this game."

The Sixers may be without fellow big Jahlil Okafor, who missed shootaround because of illness. He is questionable for Monday's game. 

Robert Covington will miss his second straight game with a left knee sprain. He also has flu-like symptoms. He will not travel to Memphis or New Orleans. 

Jerryd Bayless also remains sidelined with left wrist soreness. His status to join the team for the next two games on the road is questionable. 

Nerlens Noel, who is rehabbing with the Sixers, will not join the team on trip.