Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Sixers lose for 19th time in 20 games

INDIANAPOLIS - The 76ers want folks to "Trust the Process." However, this season has been more about "Watching the Losses."

Pacers' George Hill  drives on Sixers'  Ish Smith in second half of Monday night's game.
Pacers' George Hill drives on Sixers' Ish Smith in second half of Monday night's game.Read moreAssociated Press

INDIANAPOLIS - The 76ers want folks to "Trust the Process." However, this season has been more about "Watching the Losses."

It was just a normal night on the basketball court on Monday.

The Sixers dropped to 9-62 after suffering a 91-75 loss to the seemingly disinterested Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The setback was their sixth straight and 19th in their last 20 games. It also gave then a 3-42 mark against teams in the Eastern Conference.

By now, most people know that the Sixers are in their third season of sacrificing wins in order to secure top NBA draft picks. That's why they want people to "Trust the Process." General manager Sam Hinkie and principal owner Josh Harris thought this was the best tactic to ensure that the Sixers become an elite team in the future.

But their current reality is losing at least 62 games for the third straight season. And with 11 games left, the Sixers could realistically lose 70.

"We all feel it," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "We go through this in real time. The pain of losing is real."

To their credit, they kept things competitive Monday. It can be argued that some of that had a lot to do with the Pacers (37-33) playing down to their competition.

Paul George was the biggest example. The All-Star Game starter came into the contest averaging 23.6 points. However, the forward finished with 15 points on 4-of-16 shooting. When George wasn't missing shots, he was passing them up.

Reserve guard Rodney Stuckey also struggled, scoring just nine points on 3-for-12 shooting.

Taking advantage, the Sixers nearly battled back from a 14-point second-quarter deficit. Isaiah Canaan's three-pointer closed the gap to 55-53 with 7 minutes, 6 seconds left in the third. However, the Pacers closed out the quarter on an 11-3 run to take a 10-point cushion into the fourth.

"They did a good job tonight of just capitalizing at the end of quarters," Carl Landry said. "I think that's what hurt the most. I thought throughout the game we did a good job. But right before the fourth quarter, they hit a bucket and did a good job of ending the quarter."

Landry was talking about Ty Lawson's 25-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pacers the 66-56 advantage. That came after the Sixers' Nik Stauskas missed a three-pointer with 4.9 seconds left at the other end.

Canaan and Hollis Thompson paced the Sixers with 15 points apiece. Ish Smith had one of his worst games as Sixer. The point guard finished with four points on 2-for-15 shooting. Nerlens Noel had eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and three turnovers. Jerami Grant added 14 points.

"I think they have a bright future," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel, a South Jersey native and former Sixers assistant. "It's just a matter of when they want to pull the trigger in terms of bringing in some veterans to pair up with their young talent. When they choose to do that and get out of rebuild mode, I think they are going to have a lot of pieces and a lot of flexibility to do damage."

Brown was appreciative of what his coaching colleague had to say. He says he is excited about this offseason, when the Sixers can begin to focus on adding veteran talent in free agency and via trades.

"So the words that he says, I agree with," Brown said of Vogel. "It doesn't dilute some of the pain we all go through as a city, players, coaching staff. But I see a bright light. I see daylight."

But right now, the Sixers need to win another game to avoid tying the 1972-73 Sixers, who finished 9-73, for the worst record in NBA history.