The 76ers are in the midst of a 5 game losing streak. After starting off the year with a 103-99 win against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sixers have been on a steady decline in performance. The loss to the Suns, okay, shouldn’t have happened. The losses to San Antonio and Oklahoma City, understandable. The Nets, ugh. But losing to the Toronto Raptors? 90-72? UNACCEPTABLE.
The two losses this week were quite different, but both abysmal in their own right. In the loss to the Nets, the Sixers were out rebounded by 18. Not only were they out rebounded by double digits but, adding insult to injury, the bulk of the rebounds came from former 76er Reggie Evans. This highlights the 800 lb elephant in (or in this case, out) of the room: no inside presence, no big man, no Andrew Bynum. The best rebounder on the 76ers is currently small-forward Thaddeus Young, pulling down 7.1 per game. Kwame Brown and Spencer Hawes are not making up for it either, averaging 3.5 and 5.9, respectively. It’s simply not enough. Without those rebounds, the Nets wouldn’t have blown the 76ers out by 20 points. It just wouldn’t have happened. Their base shooting isn’t that spectacular, but they do have big, athletic guys under the net. It’s hard for the 76ers to make big plays and put points on the board when they can’t get control of the ball. Although at the half the 76ers only trailed 48-47, they got completely manhandled in the 3rd quarter, and the second half as a whole was completely lost on them.
And then, there’s the loss to the Raptors. An 18 point loss nonetheless. Horrendous. The 76ers barely even put up more than 70 points. They lost to the worst team in the Atlantic Conference, and lost by A LOT. It’s unbelievable. The 76ers began the game with their trademark slow start, but managed to make it only behind by 2 at the half. And that’s where things went down the drain. As with the Nets, the Raptors completely dominated the 76ers in the second half. The defense on the 76ers is just horrendous. No stops, no blocked shots, and again, barely any rebounds. You can’t rely on the offense for everything, especially when that offense is not complete as is. Although Jrue Holiday and Thad Young both managed to have 16 point games, that’s simply not good enough when you’re riding on your offense. They need to have guys like Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and Kwame Brown delivering in terms of defense, or else it won’t matter how many points they score.
All in all, it’s not looking good for the 76ers. Without a real starting center (Andrew Bynum) and without a solid defensive performance, the team will continue to get outscored and outperformed, and it probably won’t just be limited to the second half anymore. Something needs to change, or we can look forward to a year on the outside once the playoffs start. The 76ers host the Houston Rockets tonight at the Wells Fargo Center. Tip off is at 7:30 PM.Tags: Andrew Bynum, Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Kwame Brown, losing, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young