After tonight's 126-105 loss to the Orlando Magic, the apparent disconnect between the 76ers and coach Eddie Jordan appeared wider than the gaps in their defenseless defense.
Only minutes after his team allowed Orlando to shoot 15 three-pointers on 65.2 percent accuracy from beyond the arc, Jordan said his team was devoid of leadership.
Jordan said his team was sulking, lacking fight, and displaying a defeatist attitude.
"We try to address it," Jordan said of the coaching staff. "We try to get them with some more spirit and some more positive energy. And it's just hard when you don't have that sort of internal leadership."
The Sixers let Orlando rack up a trio of 30-point-plus quarters. The Magic made 58.4 percent of their shots from the floor.
In the fourth quarter, Orlando built a 28-point lead. During a time-out with 5 minutes, 6 seconds remaining in the game, thousands at the Wachovia Center grabbed their coats and filed toward the exits.
The fans had seen enough, which wasn't much.
The Sixers dropped to 22-37. The Magic, led by Jameer Nelson's 22 points and 10 assists, improved to 41-20.
Along with their defense, the Sixers' playoff hopes - once remote, but not outlandish - have disappeared.
Those are the concrete details of tonight's loss, but what about the postgame words? To whom was Jordan speaking?
Swingman Andre Iguodala is generally considered the team's leader. After Friday night's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Jordan said he "loved" Iguodala's leadership in that game.
Tonight, informed of Jordan's words, Iguodala did not seem overly concerned with his coach's frustration.
"You start to play the blame game and it really leads to a dead end, it doesn't go anywhere," said Iguodala, who scored 19 points. "I'm just going to go out there and keep doing what I've been doing my whole career, which is play basketball the right way."
Tonight, Jordan didn't seem convinced that his team was playing the right way.
"We just didn't respond in a passionate way," Jordan said. "We lost the passion to compete. We saw some poor body language, and there was a couple of time-outs [when] we addressed it. And I wasn't going to have it. I addressed it a couple of times; I addressed it right now. It's leadership or lack thereof. . . . One guy's miserable, and it's contagious throughout the team, and we just can't have it."
"I think that's his opinion and he's entitled to view this team whichever way he wants to," guard Willie Green said.
At the end of the third quarter, the Sixers had already allowed 102 points: 35 in the first, 33 in the second, and 34 in the third.
"They just dominated the game," Jordan said. "We were dominated. We were dominated. And whether you're dominated or not, you have to learn how to compete, you have to learn how to rally, you have to learn how to hold your chin up. . . . Now's the time we should have learned some lessons and get it up, but obviously our team hasn't learned it."