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Twenty-eight turnovers contribute to Sixers' loss to Grizzlies

ONE MINUTE, seven seconds into the fourth quarter against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies, the 76ers had two turnovers, used two timeouts and hadn't scored a point.

ONE MINUTE, seven seconds into the fourth quarter against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies, the 76ers had two turnovers, used two timeouts and hadn't scored a point.

That was a microcosm of a game that featured them turning the ball over 28 times and allowing yet another opponent to coast to victory, this time by 104-90.

The Grizzlies have been up and down of late, having won only two of their last six. The Sixers, of course, have just been down, as Tuesday's setback was their 11th straight loss and dropped them to 1-29.

Memphis has gone to a smaller lineup of late to try and change its fortunes, with power forward Zach Randolph coming off the bench. Sixers coach Brett Brown tried to combat that by also going smaller, as he started Jerami Grant instead of Nerlens Noel. It didn't much matter, as Memphis scored 31 points in the opening 12 minutes.

Brown has challenged his players' competitive spirit of late, which is something that never had been an issue during his time here. They also don't run or force turnovers they way that they used to. It's a total identity crisis.

"I don't really know what to pinpoint," said Jahlil Okafor, who finished with a team-high 18 points. "(Brown) said that we did better today than in the past five or six games (competitively). But, it came down to us turning the ball over 28 times. Twenty-eight turnovers, it's hard to win."

"Twenty-eight turnovers (leading to) 36 points," Brown said. "That can be a headline. That can be a single-sentence article and we can all go finish our Christmas shopping. You can recite that number as many times as you want. That is the game."

Hollis Thompson scored 16 off the bench and Isaiah Canaan added 15 for the Sixers, who have been outscored by an average of 17.5 points during the 11-game losing streak.

Marc Gasol had 19 to lead Memphis (16-14).

McConnell gets it

As Brett Brown tries to figure out the guard rotation now that Tony Wroten and Kendall Marshall are close to being cleared to play unlimited minutes, there is the little matter of T.J. McConnell - no pun intended.

Brown has not been happy with his team's softness of late. The day-to-day competitive spirit that has been the benchmark of the team has been missing except for a few players. One of them, he says, is McConnell.

So while the coach waits for Marshall and Wroten to fully heal and find their games, McConnell continues to give solid minutes.

"Realistically, I was just trying to hold down the fort until they got back," McConnell said. "I try to do it to the best of my ability. Tony and Kendall have been doing this way longer than I have. If I can fill minutes and just do what my team needs me to do while I'm out there, I'm just going to play hard.

"I'm in the NBA, so I'm not going to come in here thinking I'm a starter because I'm realistic with myself. I was lucky enough to start when I got here. Now that those two are healthy, I'll come off the bench and I have no problem with it. I'm doing whatever this team needs me to do. My mindset is not going to change if I'm playing 30 minutes or if I'm playing five minutes. I'm going to play as hard as I can each game."

McConnell possesses that endearing quality of "just happy to be here" that is quite refreshing in a season full of despair.

Six shots

Billy Cunningham's 11-year-old granddaughter, Skylar Ortiz, did a wonderful job singing the national anthem before the game . . . The team flew out after the game to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Wednesday. They'll fly home after the game and then depart late Christmas afternoon to Phoenix . . . Brett Brown confirmed a report that he met with, and worked out, Chuck Hayes and John Lucas III, but said that they are not joining the team at this time. He said the team is looking at other veterans also, but would not give specifics . . . Kendall Marshall and Tony Wroten are still not cleared to play consecutive games, so Wroten played Tuesday and Marshall will play Wednesday in Milwaukee.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76