The last nine games have been deflating.
How could they not be?
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The 76ers have been pummeled by 40 or more points twice and by 20 or more four times. They’ve dropped nine in a row and 19 of 22 overall.
They’ve lost eight straight games at the Wells Fargo Center. More than that, the Sixers have lost their confidence. Even when they weren’t winning earlier this season, they played hard. The effort was evident at all times.
In a 114-85 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night, they looked extremely sluggish. The Cavaliers consistently beat them up and down the floor.
With the trade deadline looming Thursday afternoon, the Sixers’ roster could be in for a shakeup.
Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner could be dealt and the team may look markedly different when the Dallas Mavericks come to town on Friday.
“If it happens, it happens,” Young said matter-of-factly of a potential trade.
In the meantime, there are games to be played – 27 more, to be exact. At 15-40, the Sixers are in prime position for the NBA Lottery. But for now, it’s tough to lose on a daily basis.
“I think there were some effort problems no doubt,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “You can’t hide from that. I think when you’re losing games at this stage of the year, there’s a beat down effect that we’re trying to avoid. I want those guys to feel good about themselves. I want them to find a way to help themselves. When you don’t feel great about yourself, you see a bunch of problems that I think are consequential.
“My job going forward is to help them get better, to be with them to demand some things and expect some things, but to also make sure that we coach them.”
The Sixers haven’t lost this many games in one stretch at home since the 1996-97 season. Losing is tough enough. To continue dropping home games is even tougher.
“When you lose the way we’ve been losing, it gets deflating a little bit,” Young said. “As a team, we’ve been trying to keep ourselves together, talking to each other, staying positive and just trying to figure everything out.”
There are no easy answers.
The roster is thin, players could be on the move and the losing continues. It’s like a roller coaster preparing to go off the tracks.
“I think when it comes to these types of situations, you have to look at yourself and see what you can do more as opposed to pointing the finger and doing whatever else,” Turner said.