Pardon the cliché, but the 76ers were definitely a shell of themselves.
They were shorthanded and simply bad Monday night in a 106-98 loss to the struggling Denver Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center.
Joel Embiid struggled mightily. So did Nik Stauskas and Hollis Thompson. The team committed 19 turnovers - 14 after intermission. The turnovers they committed on their last two possessions were indicative of the Sixers' night.
They had a five-second violation on the next-to-last possession. Then they threw the ball out of bounds. Both possessions came out of timeouts.
"We cannot lose the ball like that," reserve forward Dario Saric said. "It's not the fault of me. It's not the fault of Joel. It's not the fault of Sergio [Rodriguez]. It's the fault of all of us on the team.
"We need to get open better. We need to concentrate more in certain situations, how to attack and how to pass the ball."
However, turning the ball over is nothing new for the Sixers. They came into the contest averaging a league-worst 16.6 turnovers per game. They also aren't foreign to losing games. The Sixers have an NBA-worst record of 4-17 and they extended their losing streak to seven games.
The main difference was that Embiid's performance. The 7-foot-2, 276-pounder usually excels under any circumstance. But on this night, the rookie missed 10 of his first 13 shots. Things were so bad that he hit himself twice on the side of the head when he was subbed out with 8 minutes, 7 seconds remaining.
Embiid salvaged things a little bit by making his next two shots and finished 5 for 15 en route to 16 points. He did have a game-high five blocks to go with four rebounds and three turnovers.
"They were digging a lot," Embiid said of guards trying to swipe the ball away from him while whiling doubling down. "I have to do a better job of passing out of that when I see two people on me. Next time, it's on me to do a better job of passing out."
Stauskas finished with four points on 1-for-7 shooting, while Thompson was held scoreless after missing all three of his attempts.
But at least they played.
The Sixers were without Robert Covington (left knee sprain, flu symptoms), Jahlil Okafor (gastroenteritis), Jerryd Bayless (left wrist ligament tear), reserve center Nerlens Noel (inflamed left knee), and Ben Simmons (fractured right foot). Noel and Simmons have yet to play this season. None of the five players traveled to Memphis with the team following the game.
On Monday, the Sixers had only 10 available players.
"With our group, when you have no Jahlil, no Covington, there's just zero margin for error for whatever we are talking about," coach Brett Brown said. "I felt that more than I did sluggish.
"I felt when they started making their run, I think that we didn't stand up as tall as I wanted."
The Sixers blew a 10-point second quarter cushion thanks in large part their turnovers and third-quarter shooting woes. The Sixers made just 26.3 percent of their shots committing seven turnovers in the third quarter as the Nuggets (8-13) took a 74-70 advantage into the fourth. They extended their lead to 11 points midway through the fourth. The Sixers battled back, but were doomed by costly miscues down the stretch.
Denver swingman Danilo Gallinari led all scorers with 24 points. Reigning Western Conference rookie of the month Jamal Murray and Will Barton added 22 points apiece.
Rodriguez, Saric, and Ersan Ilyasova all had 17 points to lead the Sixers.