PHOENIX - The 76ers could have used Evan Turner.
Michael Carter-Williams did his best. So did Thaddeus Young and Tony Wroten. But Turner's absence contributed to an all-too-familiar result: a road loss.
This time, it was a 115-101 setback to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night at US Airways Center.
For the Sixers (8-21), it was their 13th consecutive road loss, and ninth overall setback in 10 games.
"We missed Evan," Sixers coach Brett Brown said of Turner, who has a team-leading 19.3 points-per-game average but was sidelined because of right-knee soreness. "But still, you look down, 101 points is still a good effort from some young kids and some veteran players. Defensively, we just have a long way to go."
Brown made a valid point.
The Sixers were dominated by Phoenix center Miles Plumlee throughout the game and reserve forward Marcus Morris in the fourth quarter.
Plumlee, a 6-foot-11 255-pounder, made 10 of 14 shots to finish with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds. The second-year veteran had the grit of a hockey player, returning after receiving seven stitches in his chin after the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Morris put the game away with three huge three-pointers in the fourth quarter.
After Young pulled the Sixers within six points, 96-90, with 6 minutes, 42 seconds left, Morris responded with back-to-back threes that made it a 102-90 game 1:42 later. Then the Philadelphia native's third three-pointer gave the Suns a 108-94 lead with 3:47 left.
Surrendering three-pointers and being dominated in the post are nothing new for the Sixers.
Turner's ability to score from the wing position was missed. In the swingman's absence, Elliot Williams got his first career start. The 6-foot-5 guard, who signed with the Sixers on Nov. 20, struggled. He finished with zero points while missing all five of his shots, including three from three-point range.
Young, Carter-Williams, and Wroten tried to take up the slack.
Young had a game-high 30 points and 10 rebounds. The power forward made 4 of 7 three-pointers. Carter-Williams, the rookie point guard, finished with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, and 5 turnovers. Wroten, a backup point guard who also saw action alongside Carter-Williams, added 22 points.
Their efforts enabled the Sixers to keep battling back. But the Suns (18-11) eventually pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Turner sat out Saturday morning's shootaround. At the time, Brown said the fourth-year veteran would play against the Suns.
But . . .
"After shootaround, we assessed his injury a little bit, and it's nothing severe. It's my decision," Brown said. "Evan would want to play tonight. I think that when you sit down and talk to the trainer and you really listen to Evan that it is not wise for me to play him."
Turner injured his knee in the Sixers' last game, a 116-106 setback at Milwaukee on Dec. 21.
This was just the fifth game the fourth-year player has missed during his career.
"I think I might have aggravated it the last couple days at practice," said Turner, who expects to play Sunday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. "But I thought I took enough time off. I think Coach for the most part was just being [cautious]."