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.

Bryan Colangelo on Joel Embiid setback: 'We're reacting in a way that's proactive'

Bryan Colangelo on Joel Embiid setback: 'We're reacting in a way that's proactive'

The timetable for Joel Embiid's return to the court keeps getting murkier.

Embiid was ruled out indefinitely on Monday and will now have an MRI on his injured left knee (see story). He initially suffered a bone bruise on Jan. 20 and it was revealed on Feb. 11 that he had a minor meniscal tear.

The Sixers previously had a plan of rest and rehab in place and targeted a March 4 return for the big man. 

"With respect to what's developed over the last couple of days, it's quite simple, Joel developed a little bit of swelling and soreness," Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said during Monday's edition of Philly Sports Talk. "We're reacting in a way that's proactive. We wanted to be more communicative with our fans. We wanted to make sure that there's less question about whether or not he would be available. This is literally changing out for the next two games now to out indefinitely."

That's a quick change of events. As recently as Friday, Embiid was on track to be back in uniform this week.

"I was in a situation where the latest update on Friday was that he was doing well through his planned progression toward returning to play," Colangelo said. "In recent days, his training has developed a reaction with swelling and soreness, and thus we wanted to take a step back, put him on ice for a minute and make sure that we do everything possible, including getting another scan done."

Embiid initially suffered the injury against the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 20. The rookie sensation missed three games before coming back vs. the Houston Rockets in a national TV matchup on Jan. 27. He has missed all 13 games since facing the Rockets.

Even with Embiid’s diagnosed tear of his meniscus and recent flaring up of the knee after rehab sessions, the Sixers are being supremely cautious when it comes to any potential procedures. The team is not in a rush to put the center back under the knife after he missed the first two seasons of his career because of a pair of foot surgeries.

"With all due respect, medical injuries are injuries that require care and attention," Colangelo said. "When I take information that comes from the medical team, including doctors and the training staff and the physiotherapists, we apply it as instructed and we do that to protect the athlete. In a case of jumping into someone's knee to operate, when the circumstances are known but the conditions and how he's reacting to certain things are still unknown, I think you go through the planned progression of steps as prescribed and evaluated by doctors."

The quick decision to label Embiid out indefinitely is a sharp contrast to prior updates on the phenom. Just last week, Embiid lamented how the Sixers never announced a true timetable for his return (see story).

Now just days later, Embiid has a prognosis that could technically keep him out for the remainder of the regular season. 

Embiid has proven his worth in 31 games this season by averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 25.4 minutes a night. But with only 23 games left on the schedule, will he suit up again this season?

"Out indefinitely means just that. It's indeterminate at this point," Colangelo said. "I think we're all hopeful to get him out there. It would be beneficial for the fans to see him again. It would be great for us as a unit to have him out there as we continue to strive toward winning as the season concludes.

"But at the end of the day, the health and performance of our athletes is first and foremost. We don't want to jeopardize the long-term health."

Sixers waive big man Andrew Bogut

Sixers waive big man Andrew Bogut

To no surprise, Andrew Bogut is not part of the process.

The veteran big man, acquired in the Nerlens Noel trade last week, was waived by the Sixers on Monday night.

The Vertical's Shams Charania and ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the news of both parties agreeing to a contract buyout.

Bogut was included in the Sixers-Mavericks deal that sent Noel to Dallas in exchange for the 32-year-old center, Justin Anderson and a top-18 protected first-round pick (which will likely turn into two second-round picks).

Bogut will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Per a report Sunday by ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Bogut was set on joining Clevelend once a contract buyout with the Sixers was finalized. Bogut will have discussions with the Cavaliers, Spurs, Celtics and Rockets before making his decision, according to Stein's report.

Bogut played 26 games for the Mavericks this season, averaging 3.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.