Player and Play of the Week: November 23-29
First-line Thoughts: Will Hakstol keep Giroux and Voracek separated?

Sixers set records on consecutive nights, fall to Memphis 92-84

Stop me if you've heard this one before. The Sixers lose for the fifth time in a row while holding a fourth quarter lead. This brings their record to 0-18, matching the NBA's longest losing streak to begin a season shared by the 2009-2010 New Jersey Nets. 

Both Memphis and Philadelphia started off slowly in the first quarter, only combining for 15 points in the first 6 minutes of the game. The Grizzlies offense picked up towards the end of the quarter finishing with 21 points fueled by three point plays the old fashioned way. 

The second quarter was a sloppy affair by both teams turning the ball over often and not capitalizing on their offensive end, though the Sixers had a few fast break buckets.The score of the game at halftime was 37-31 Grizzlies, which is well below the NBA average halftime total score of 100 points. 

The Sixers came on strong in the second half with Robert Covington leading the way with his final stat line of 12 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 7 steals, and a block. Although he didn't assert himself offensively in the same way he did on Friday against Houston he still managed to affect almost every facet of the game, including a three point shot to tie the game at 51 midway through the third quarter. The quarter's swarming defense overwhelmed the Grizzlies allowing the Sixers to hold a lead ending the period up three. The highlight play of the night came on a Jerami Grant alley-oop from TJ McConnell.

The Sixers looked fully in control of the game until resident former slam dunk champion Vince Carter turned back the clock when the Sixers fell asleep on an inbounds pass to bring Memphis emotionally back into the game early in the fourth quarter. The quarter was a roller coaster for Sixers fans, seeing their team up five halfway through the quarter only to find their team down 86-77 after a 15-1 Memphis run with time running out. 

Memphis missed key free throws down the stretch in a deja vu of the Sixers' last game in Houston to keep the game interesting. Matt Barnes, a 85 percent foul shooter this year, missed both of his with 1:13 left leaving the Sixers with an opportunity to close the gap to four with a three pointer but they failed to capitalize. Another missed free throw by Marc Gasol gave the Sixers one last glimmer of hope but the Sixers once again couldn't muster the offense to keep themselves afloat to a final score of 92-84.

Both teams were careless with the basketball notching 51 total turnovers for the game, though it was somewhat pleasant to see the Sixers come out ahead finishing with one less turnover than Memphis. 

Depending on your level of optimism, this five game stretch is encouraging for the Sixers that they have been competitive in the fourth quarter, whereas earlier in the season the games were decided long before the final frame. According to expected Pythagorean wins, based on point differential, the Sixers "should" have won one or even two of these last five games. This suggests that if the Sixers keep competing the way they have been recently, wins are right around the corner.

The Sixers look to avoid setting a new record for consecutive losses to begin the season on Tuesday Dec. 1 when the Los Angeles Lakers come to The Center in what will be Kobe Bryant's last visit to Philadelphia as an NBA player. Bryant, a local product of Lower Merion high school announced his eventual retirement at the end of the 2015-2016 after a wildly successful NBA career to say the least, including multiple championships, All-Star appearances and the 2008 Most Valuable Player Award. 


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