NEW YORK – One had to believe the 76ers would snap their home-and-road trend Sunday.
That's because their matchup at the Barclays Center came against the struggling Brooklyn Nets. It was a squad that had only won three of its previous nine games.
So the Sixers were destined to pick up their first road victory over the season, right? So we thought.
The Nets prevailed, 122-97. The setback came one day after beating the Detroit Pistons, 109-99, at the Wells Fargo Center.
"That's not who were are," coach Brett Brown said. "I give credit to Brooklyn. But that is unacceptable."
The Sixers (6-5) have lost all five of their games on the road at Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Toronto, and now Brooklyn (4-6).
Meanwhile, their six victories at home came against the Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic, and Chicago Bulls.
On Sunday, the Sixers didn't come close to playing like a squad that was a preseason favorite to reach the Eastern Conference finals.
They finished with 28 turnovers, their most of the season leading to 39 Brooklyn points. The Sixers also made a season-low four three-pointers in 20 attempts (20 percent). In all, the Sixers (31-of-65 from the field) attempted 40 fewer shot attempts than the Nets (50-for-105).
A lot of that had to do with the visitors' turnovers.
"You can almost accept that 4-for-20 [on threes] or whatever it is," Brown said. "But that volume of turnovers, you can't get Joel [Embiid] the ball. You are turning it over before you can get him the ball."
The All-Star center attempted 10 foul shots, making eight. However, he had his fewest number of field-goal attempts (eight) of the season. Embiid made four of them en route to finishing with 16 points to go with a game-high 15 rebounds, a team-high four assists, one block and five turnovers.
"I sucked," Embiid said.
He had scored 39, 41 and 31 points while averaging 23.6 shot attempts in the last three games.
"It's hard to get him the quantity of shots he needs to get when you are turning the ball over that much," Brown said.
Ben Simmons paced the Sixers with 20 points to go with 12 rebounds, and team-high four steals. He, however, also had five turnovers — all before intermission — and tied his season low in assists with three.
Meanwhile, the Nets had a balanced attack with D'Angelo Russell and Chester native Rondae Hollis-Jefferson leading six double-figure scorers with 21 points, apiece.
The Sixers committed 17 of their turnovers in the first half. They also missed their first 12 three-point attempts. Landry Shamet drained their first one to knot the score at 61 with 6 minutes, 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
However, that was one of the his team's few highlights. The Nets responded with an 11-0 run to take a 72-61 advantage with 5:30 remaining in the quarter.
Brooklyn went on to build a commanding 27-point lead (108-84) on a put-back layup by Hollis-Jefferson with 1:10 left in the game.
"We've been playing soft,"Simmons said. "We've been bull [crap]."
Asked how to rectify that, Simmons responded: "I don't know what it is. But I think we just need to step it up."
This was the first time that he felt the Sixers' performance was unacceptable since he started playing last season.
"I don't know if it's a mental thing, a toughness thing, or just something we really need to point out: Let everybody know what we really need to do on the floor," Simmons said.
He later acknowledged that Sunday's performance could be the result of playing the second game of a back-to-back. He added that guys could be tired.
"I know regardless, we're not hitting shots," Simmons said. "We've just got to play tougher."