76ers

Instant Replay: Nuggets 101, Sixers 100

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Instant Replay: Nuggets 101, Sixers 100

BOX SCORE

DENVER -- The Sixers came into Denver prepared to face a Nuggets team riding a 13-game winning streak and boasting a 30-3 record at home inside the Pepsi Center.

The game had all the making of a lopsided loss, but the Sixers instead turned it into a gut-wrenching 101-100 defeat.

With 7.1 seconds remaining on the clock, Evan Turner stepped to the free throw line to ice the game but missed both shots.

On the ensuing Denver possession, Corey Brewer was fouled by Damien Wilkins on a three-point attempt. Brewer converted all three free throws to give the Nuggets a 101-100 lead with 2.1 seconds left in the game.

The Sixers’ final shot at the buzzer was blocked to give them their 15 straight loss on the road.

"We weren't supposed to win that game," former Sixer Andre Iguodala told CSN's Molly Sullivan afterward. "We weren't supposed to win tonight."

Turning point
Damien Wilkins shook off a foul from Andre Miller to score on the low block with 2:07 left in the game. His bucket gave the Sixers an eight-point lead, but he was unable to convert the ensuing free throw.

Still, that should have been enough for the Sixers to close out the game. Instead, they scored just two more points the rest of the way, while turnovers and poor execution sealed their fate.

Follow the leader
Spencer Hawes had 17 points and 12 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. He also blocked four shots.

Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 15 assists for his 19th double-double. Holiday’s 15 assists tied his season high.

Wilkins scored 24 points, while Thaddeus Young added 18.

Brewer scored a game-high 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting. He also made 5 of 6 shots from beyond the arc.

Andre Miller started for the injured Ty Lawson and scored 21 points. Iguodala added 13 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Stat-egic
Since the Nuggets play at a frenetic pace, they tend to turn the ball over more than most teams. Denver averages 15.2 turnovers per game, tied for 25th-worst in the NBA.

The Sixers are second in the league in giveaways at just 13.1 per game.

Both teams were sloppy with the ball on Thursday. The Sixers turned it over 22 times, while the Nuggets had 19 turnovers for the night.

Take a bow
Wilkins has been a real bright spot for the Sixers during the back half of this disappointing season.

Wilkins made his seventh straight start Thursday night and scored in double figures for a seventh time in his last nine games. He finished with a team-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

What’s next?
The Sixers continue their four-game road swing with a game at Sacramento on Sunday.

The Kings average 99.7 points per game, but they give up a league-worst 104.8 points a night.

Sacramento is led in scoring and rebounding by DeMarcus Cousins, who averages 17.0 and 10.0 respectively. Chester product Tyreke Evans is second on the team in scoring with 15.6 points a game.

Sixers let game slip away in second half against Celtics

Sixers let game slip away in second half against Celtics

BOX SCORE

The box score shows an imbalanced fourth quarter when the Sixers were outscored 33-20 by the Celtics. 

The play-by-play breakdown demonstrates the Celtics breaking an 84-84 tie with seven minutes remaining to end the game on an 18-8 run. 

The stat line tells the story of the Sixers giving up seven points to Kyrie Irving in less than four minutes to close out the game. 

That’s how the Celtics took over the Sixers home opener. The Sixers felt the game slip away earlier than that. 

“We struggled in the third to continue what we had going,” Jerryd Bayless said. “We didn’t hold everything together like we should have.”

The Sixers led the Celtics 50-46 at halftime. JJ Redick had matched Irving’s 12 points and the Sixers had only given up four points off turnovers, a needed improvement from their first game. 

They jumped ahead by nine, 65-56, with 4:35 to play in the third. That’s when they noticed the change. The Sixers went scoreless for a two-minute stretch. The Celtics failed to hit a field goal during that stretch (0 for 4), but they scored six points off free throws. The Sixers didn’t take advantage of the Celtics' shooting skid; instead, they hit one, too (0 for 3 from the field, three turnovers). 

“That was our chance to build that lead,” Redick said. “We were getting stops and we couldn’t get anything going offensively. It seemed like we were stuck at 65 for what seemed like forever. It was a seven-point game and we were getting stops and we never could push it past that, and it ended up being a three-point game to start the fourth. That was for sure when the momentum started shifting.”

The Sixers shot 39.1 percent from the field in the fourth while the Celtics were an efficient 64.7 percent. The Sixers fell flat from long range (1 for 6) and took just two free throws. The Celtics, meanwhile, scored 12 points from three (4 for 8) and went 7 for 7 at the line. In addition to Irving's offensive burst, Al Horford and Shane Larkin combined for 17 points in the quarter. 

“My mind goes to stops and not fouling,” Brett Brown said. “I think we fouled too much.” 

This loss emphasizes the importance of holding onto a lead when it’s in the Sixers' grasp instead of having to play catch up. Not when their roster is newly constructed and they are looking to young players down the stretch. Not when they are facing a a player like Irving who can take over at will, especially when he sees a window of opportunity. 

“Come on, that’s winning time,” Irving said of the fourth. 

Celtics 102, Sixers 92: Studs, duds, turning point and more

Celtics 102, Sixers 92: Studs, duds, turning point and more

BOX SCORE

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame won’t be putting in a call for the film of this one.

The Sixers’ home opener Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center was sloppy and foul-filled. At times, it was downright ugly.

Basically, it was Sixers-Celtics.

In the end, the Sixers didn’t have enough down the stretch of a 102-92 loss (see observations).

There was plenty to take away from the defeat as the team heads into the second half of its first back-to-back of the season.

Turning point
The Sixers took a three-point advantage into the fourth quarter. And while their offense went cold, their defense completely collapsed.

The Sixers gave up 33 points in the final frame, a high for both teams in any quarter during the game.

Key stat
Bickering with the refs didn't help the Sixers' cause on the stat sheet.

They committed 31 personal fouls compared to 24 by the Celtics. That also helped fuel the free throw disparity. The Sixers made 12 of 16 FTs, while the C's connected on 22 of 32 from the charity stripe.

Offensive stud
It’s amazing what having real shooters can do for a team. Redick and Jerryd Bayless proved that again Friday night.

The pair of veteran guards helped keep the Sixers afloat when things weren’t looking great for the squad early and kept on contributing to the final buzzer.

Overall, Redick and Bayless combined for 37 points and eight three-pointers.

Offensive dud
Joel Embiid won’t find his name here often, but the big fella was far from his usual self against the Celtics. 

Embiid shot just 4 for 16 (0 for 6 from three-point range) for 11 points. He added 14 boards to secure a double-double, but it didn't help on the scoreboard.

For a guy lobbying hard to play in back-to-back sets, he sure looked tired.

Defensive stud
You can make an argument Irving is the best offensive point guard in the entire NBA. That’s why what T.J. McConnell did was so impressive.

When matched up with Irving, McConnell got right into the All-Star’s chest and didn’t back down. He’s a big reason Irving shot 7 for 17 and committed five turnovers.

Defensive dud
Not that it’s his fault, but Dario Saric struggled severely when matched up against opposing centers Al Horford and Aron Baynes. 

Brett Brown wants to run Saric at the five at times with the second unit, but it hasn’t yielded much success so far through two games. (Jahlil Okafor, anyone?)

Injuries
The Sixers made it through a second consecutive game without any injuries. Keep those fingers crossed.

Courtside celebs
Sixer staples rapper Meek Mill and filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan were both in attendance. The latter was seated next to legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson.

Up next
The Sixers don’t have any time to dwell on this one as they head straight for a matchup with another 2016-17 playoff team in the Toronto Raptors Saturday night (7:30 p.m./NBC Sports Philadelphia).