ATLANTA - The 76ers need a vocal leader.
They need someone to raise his voice and take command in the clutch so the team can avoid the second-half collapses that have become routine.
"Ultimately like I tell them: This is your program," coach Brett Brown said. "You talk to each other. You guys coach yourselves. It can't always be me to talk down [the stretch.] You guys play the sport. Have a say. Talk to each other."
No one can accuse the Sixers (1-25) of taking possessions off. However, they are a team without any answers when opponents go on runs.
"Our group is so young they just say, 'Oh, [shoot], what just happened there?' " Brown said. "We need to respond when we get punched. And right now we don't."
Brown pointed to the third quarter of a 115-96 loss in Chicago on Monday. After trailing, 56-51, at the half, the Bulls stepped up their intensity in the third quarter. The Sixers responded with turnovers and ill-advised shots.
They committed seven turnovers in the quarter after committing just two in the first half. They also made just 5 of 21 shots and were outscored by 34-12 after they had played perhaps their best quarter of the season. The Sixers looked invincible in the second quarter, making 16 of 25 shots to take the five-point halftime lead.
"It's just frustrating that it happens all the time with the third quarter," said point guard Tony Wroten, who wants to become one of the vocal leaders. "We'd be up in the third quarter, and give away all those points. But we definitely have to be vocal, especially coming from myself and the other point guards [Kendall Marshall and T.J. McConnell] because that's where it starts."
The Sixers cap their three-game road trip on Wednesday against Atlanta. Nerlens Noel will sit out a second straight game with a corneal abrasion in his left eye.
The Hawks (14-12) head into the matchup with a three-game losing streak. Atlanta ranks third in the NBA in steals (9.4 per game) and ninth in blocked shots (5.5).