SOME THINGS are just too hard to overcome. In a season that already encompasses a 17-game losing streak and a loss by 53 points, the 76ers may have suffered their most debilitating defeat on Saturday at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies when they blew an 18-point lead with less than 8 minutes to play.
As much as players and coaches will talk about moving on, the hangover from Saturday seemed evident in last night's listless effort against the struggling Boston Celtics as the Sixers dropped their fourth straight, 105-87.
"I don't feel so good," Brett Brown said when asked if his feelings about Saturday had subsided. "I feel like we most definitely let one pass by. We poked ourselves in the eye. There's nothing like the NBA to remind you that you've got a game right on your doorstep, to let it go and move on."
Easier said than done as the Sixers had little fire most of the night and it aided Boston in breaking its three-game losing streak.
"I thought we turned the ball over too much early and I thought that put us in a hole early," said Nerlens Noel. "We have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball. It's the NBA. We have too many games to worry about [Saturday's loss]. We get right back to practice and we have these next 3 days to get better."
You kind of got the feeling early that this would be a bad one for the Sixers. Boston missed 11 of its first 13 shots, yet trailed by only 11-7. The Celtics made eight of their next 13 shots and wound up leading by 30-25 after the first quarter. They then limited the Sixers to 13 points in the second quarter, forced them into nine turnovers and grew the lead to as much as 19.
"We had a good start and they came back and built a lead and didn't let us come back," said Michael Carter-Williams, who finished with 13 points, six assists and five of the team's 23 turnovers. "Our energy wasn't high enough to come back. We didn't have enough energy on the floor."
Noel, who shot 1-for-12 in his previous two games combined, had a very active game. He scored 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots. Robert Covington scored 13 and Alexey Shved 10 for the Sixers (2-22), who were outscored 25-1 on fastbreak points.
Boston starting center Tyler Zeller picked up two fouls in the game's first 47 seconds, but it turned out to be a good thing for the Celtics as his replacement, Kelly Olynyk, came off the bench for 14 first-quarter points. He wound up with 30 to lead the Celtics (8-14).
"You have these in the NBA," said Brown of the team's non-energetic play. "You hate to have it with this group. They don't have this type of thing very often. It's a fact that you do lay an egg in the NBA from time to time. Tonight we laid an egg. Maybe it was a letdown from the last game. We can't afford to have those types of letdowns."
Though he suited up for two games, Saint Joseph's product Ronald Roberts did not see action for the Sixers over the weekend after getting called up from the team's NBA Development League affiliate Delaware 87ers.
He won't be seeing any time with the Sixers in the near future, either, as the team waived him yesterday after they signed Turkish forward/center Furkan Aldemir. The Sixers still own Roberts' D- League rights.
The 6-9 Roberts, who played for the Sixers in the Orlando Summer League and during the preseason, is averaging 17.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in eight games with Delaware.
"I just feel good that we brought in a local kid and gave him a chance," Brett Brown said. "His upside is ahead of him. His challenge is always going to be, 'Are you a five or a four?' We think that he's an undersized five and he's going to have to stretch the floor a little bit and play that four spot. But look what he's done in the D-League. He's racked up huge numbers rebounding and that's what he does. He's an athlete, he's a pogo stick. He blocks shots, he rebounds. I just feel like he's ultimately going to make that transition to a four spot with his physical realities."