76ers Can’t Overcome Turnovers, Embarrassed by Pacers

The 76ers committed 31 turnovers en route to a 112-85 beating by the Indiana Pacers.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown saw his Philadelphia 76ers set the high water mark for most turnovers in a game during the 2015-16 season for the second consecutive game | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers head coach Brett Brown saw his Philadelphia 76ers set the high water mark for most turnovers in a game during the 2015-16 season for the second consecutive game | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This 76ers rebuild has had its share of low moments.

26 losses in a row during the 2013-14 season. 17 straight losses to start the 2014-15 season. 10 straight defeats to end that same campaign.

But tonight’s 112-85 loss to the Indiana Pacers to drop the 76ers to 0-12 on the season may be as low as any point of the rebuild.

“Being 0-12 is tough,” rookie Jahlil Okafor said, succinctly, after the game.

“I felt like tonight was one of those games that I think is an outlier for this group,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said after the game. “I didn’t feel like we competed. I felt like we got outworked. It’s just one of those games that I quickly want to forget.

“That’s not the Philadelphia 76ers,” Brown concluded.

Besides a listless attitude, turnovers plagued the Sixers for the second consecutive night. The team committed 27 turnovers on Monday night, which was the high-water mark for the NBA this season. The Sixers topped that mark the very next game, committing 31 turnovers tonight against the Pacers.

In fact, 31 turnovers is the most an NBA team has committed since Golden State turned the ball over 31 times against the Sacramento Kings on November 8th, 2000. Larry Hughes headlined that team.

“We can talk a lot about a bunch of things, but unless we start fixing that you’re just chasing the whole game,”  Brown said about the turnovers. “You’re not going to win any NBA games with that quantity of turnovers.”

Ever the optimist, Brown sounded hopeful they could improve taking care of the ball.

“We have a problem. Like all the things we’ll jump on it and try to get a lot better than we have been,” Brown said. “I do think when the group sort of locks in on something they’ve shown the ability to fix it, and we have to fix [the turnovers].”

T.J. McConnell, who scored a career-high 16 points in the loss, wasn’t very happy with his performance. McConnell, who entered the game with averages of 6.9 assists to only 2.5 turnovers, had just 3 assists to 5 turnovers against the Pacers.

“The amount of turnovers we had is just flat out unacceptable. It will be fixed,” McConnell said after the game. “That starts with me and Phil [Pressey]. It’s unacceptable when your point guards have that many turnovers.

“We have this saying in our locker room, ‘If you accept it expect it’. If we accept mediocrity in practice, we’re going to get our butts kicked like that every game, so we’ve got to pick it up,” McConnell continued.

McConnell’s 16 points led the Sixers, who registered only three players in double figures in scoring. He was joined by Jerami Grant, who had 13 on the night, and Jahlil Okafor, who had 14.

Nerlens Noel finished with just 2 points and 3 rebounds in 23 minutes of action. He did not register a block, steal, or assist in the game, the first time that’s happened in his 85 game NBA career.

After the game head coach Brett Brown said Noel was playing through some tendinitis in his knee and that the injured wrist he suffered earlier in the season was bothering. Brown opted to sit Noel the entire 4th quarter to rest his various ailments.

The Sixers begin a six game road trip Friday against the Hornets. They return home on December 1st to take on the Los Angeles Lakers.

Quick Thoughts:

* Turnovers. Turnovers turnovers turnovers turnovers. For the second game in a row, turnovers absolutely killed Brett Brown and his squad.

* Paul George scored just 5 points on 2-8 shooting in the first quarter. He scored 29 points on 11-16 in the second and third quarter. He scored off pick and rolls, by his big men setting him screens off the ball, and by floor boards after his own missed three bounced back into his waiting arms. The Sixers had absolutely no answer for George.

* The Sixers got a technical foul for having six men on the court coming out of a timeout. After the game, Brown said it happened because he hastily told Okafor to go in the game, and the rookie walked directly onto the court rather than going to the scorers table first. Brown took the blame for that one, claiming it was his fault, and that he should have ushered him over to the scorer’s table.

* Outside of turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers, the team just played with a listless nature that the fans that have weathered this tough rebuild just aren’t accustomed to. While the Sixers are outclassed from a talent perspective virtually every night for the past 2+ years, the one thing fans could count on was that Brett Brown’s squad would compete with a high energy level. That didn’t happen tonight. Players didn’t look focused, body language was awful, and the energy was low.

* Jahlil Okafor pulled off two beautiful offensive moves in consecutive possessions to start the second quarter. He had only one field goal attempt for the rest of the half. The Sixers committed 11 turnovers during the final 11 minutes of the second quarter.

* The floor spacing, and inability to make an entry pass, with the Jerami Grant, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor front court is just too much to overcome. If there’s one thing Okafor needs, it’s spacing. The Sixers are committed to trying to see if the Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor pairing can work, but in my opinion they’re going to need to put more shooters around them to really be able to evaluate the long-term viability of the pairing.

* Speaking of Noel, he seems to have taken a step back offensively, especially since returning from his wrist injury. Noel is shooting just 13-38 (34.2%) with 16 turnovers since returning from injury. Hopefully he’ll return to form when his injury fully heals.

* Nik Stauskas made his first three shots from the field before missing his final five, finishing the game 3-8 for his 7 points. It was nice to see him make his first three shots, at least. Stauskas had gone 0-for-his-last-two games: he went 0-6 from the field against San Antonio on Saturday and 0-4 against Dallas on Monday.

* Okafor had a much tougher time trying to establish position against Ian Mahinmi than he did when any of the other Pacers big men defended him. Okafor still had a strong night, scoring 14 points on 6-11 shooting from the field, but Mahinmi was able to neutralize him more than any other option the Pacers had. Mahinmi was on the court for 25 of the 31 minutes Okafor played, and Okafor scored just 8 points in those 25 minutes. Okafor scored 6 points in the 6 minutes he played while Mahinmi was on the Pacers bench.

* Here’s a crazy +/- stat: Mahinmi was a +43 in 28 minutes of play on a night where he went 1-4 from the field. The Sixers shot just 35.9% in the 28 minutes Mahinmi was in the game compared with 56.8% from the field in the 20 minutes he was on the bench.

* On the positive side, T.J. McConnell scored a career-high 16 points, besting his previous career-high of 13 set Monday night. He did commit 5 turnovers, however.