Sixers lose to league-worst Cleveland Cavaliers, snap home winning streak
Maybe it was too much tryptophan, maybe it was the distractions of the last week with Markelle Fultz's saga continuing, maybe it was just that the Sixers underestimated the Cleveland squad, but whatever the reason, the Sixers were off from the very beginning.
No excuse will be good enough to explain what happened at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.
The 76ers went into the night with the NBA's best home court advantage, the only team undefeated this season in their home arena, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the league's worst team, walked away with a win, beating the Sixers, 121-112.
"We had no spirit and we didn't play defense in front of our home fans ," a disappointed Brett Brown said after the loss.
The basement dwelling Cavaliers improved to 3-14 on the season, and it was Collin Sexton and Rodney Hood leading the charge, hitting tough, contested, and wipe-open shots, combining for 48 points on the night.
Maybe it was too much tryptophan, maybe it was the distractions of the last week with the ongoing Markelle Fultz's saga, maybe it was just that the Sixers underestimated the Cleveland squad, but whatever the reason, the Sixers were off from the very beginning.
"We came out with zero energy, not even low. Zero, " Jimmy Butler said. "As much as I hate to say it, they came in here and did what they wanted to do."
>>PHOTO GALLERY: Scenes from the Sixers' surprising loss to the Cavaliers
Scoreless for the first three minutes of the game, the Sixers were down by as many as 14 points to the lowly Cavaliers and needed a flurry of three-pointers from across the roster to pull themselves back into contention.
A steal and fast break score from Ben Simmons seemed to change the tone near the end of the first quarter, but the Cavs kept pushing on a night when Simmons' girlfriend Kendall Jenner was in attendance.
Butler's 22 points, Joel Embiid's 24, JJ Redick's 23, and Simmons' 22 weren't enough to keep the home crowd from booing the Sixers after the Cavs pulled away in the fourth quarter.
"It doesn't feel good," Embiid said, adding that the team needs to use this as a learning experience. "Like Tristan [Thompson] stated before the season, the Cavaliers still run the East. They came here tonight and they proved that to us."
Each shot that Hood or Jordan Clarkson hit in the fourth punctuated the Sixers lacking performance as the fans streamed out of the arena. Hood finished with a team-high 25 points while Clarkson added 19 off the bench.
Even with the Cavaliers hitting contested and often difficult shots, the Sixers defensive effort was a glaring problem throughout the game. Missed switches, slow closeouts, and failures to adjust contributed to the loss.
There were moments when it seemed like the game was about to shift, that the Sixers were going to wake up from their Thanksgiving hangover, but it never materialized into anything more than a five-point lead for the Sixers, who were thwarted in every attempt to turn the tides of the game.
The Sixers fell to 13-8 on the season in their first regular-season home loss since March 13 when the Indiana Pacers beat the Sixers, 101-98.
Jimmy Butler went to the locker room late in the loss after suffering a left ankle sprain. X-rays were negative and he will be reevaluated Saturday.
Of the injury Butler said that he just stepped awkwardly and tweaked it.
"We've got a game on Sunday [in Brooklyn] and obviously I want to hoop, I want to play," he said. We'll see where my body is. "