It's possible the 76ers are looking for something they won't find.
After yesterday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Sixers talked about discovering a "killer instinct" and "finding a way" to avoid such losses as Monday afternoon's, when they blew a 20-point lead and lost in overtime to the quite awful Minnesota Timberwolves.
This season, the Sixers rarely have been able to keep double-digit leads.
"You either have it - like leadership - or over time you develop it because of your experience, because of getting kicked in the behind so many times," coach Eddie Jordan said.
"I don't think you can teach that," point guard Allen Iverson said about the killer instinct. "That has to be something that's in you already. You just got to have it. I think you get it by just wanting to win. You just want to win; you just have to have it."
Iverson continued: "More than half of the games we've lost since I've been here, they should have been wins. And if I'm hearing what everybody's saying to me about before I got here, it was the same way."
Tonight at the Wachovia Center, the Sixers (13-27) will play the Portland Trail Blazers (25-17). Andre Miller, last season's starting point guard for the Sixers, likely will start for Portland.
Yesterday, Sixers forward Thaddeus Young said the team and coaching staff had an animated tape session while watching Monday's loss.
"It definitely wasn't positive," Young said of the 25-to-30 minutes of tape. "We had a lot of criticism that we had to take because we had a lot of miscommunications and misreads out there, and we have to get that together before we can talk about winning a whole lot of games."
At the end of regulation Monday, when the Sixers had the ball and a chance to win, Jordan kept Iverson on the bench. Instead he drew a play for swingman Andre Iguodala, who ended with a difficult 19-footer that missed at the buzzer.
Iverson, who did not play in overtime either, said Jordan's decision to keep him on the bench surprised him.
"Yeah, especially the way my career has gone - that's something that's never happened to me," Iverson said. "Four seconds on the clock, I'm pretty sure I could at least be a decoy or something like that."
Jordan said he didn't use Iverson because "Allen had been sitting." Jordan had removed Iverson from the game with 51.8 seconds remaining.
"I wanted to put the ball in Andre's hand," the coach said. "I thought he had a good look."
Jordan added: "I've gone so many different ways for these end-of-games: I went to Marreese [Speights] in the post, they double-team him and he kicked it out for an open shot. I've gone with Allen a couple of times. So we haven't had much success."
With his team lacking it, Jordan tried to define "killer instinct."
"Killer instinct is a straight-line drive to the basket, not between your legs and a spin dribble," he said. "That sort of thing. It's a mind-set more than anything else."