Sixers blow late lead, fall to Pelicans for fourth straight defeat


By Josh Liddick, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Sixers (13-13) led late, but at the end of the day, it was too much to handle as the Pelicans (14-13) flew past and took care of business en route to a 131-124 win in New Orleans.

The night didn't start out as planned as Joel Embiid was ruled out of the contest with back tightness, putting the long-awaited matchup against DeMarcus Cousins on hold for another time.
The Sixers really seemed like they would not be able to get past the Pelicans on paper at first, but they surprisingly held tough throughout.

The Sixers had an eight point lead going into the fourth quarter, but turnovers and missed offensive chances gifted the Pelicans with opportunities to pull ahead, and they capitalized on those plays.
Philadelphia ended up outscoring the Pels 40-21 in the third quarter, but ended up putting together a dismal fourth, being outscored 44-29.
We knew the bench was going to be a giant factor for the Sixers in this game after being almost completely incompetent in their last two games. But at the end of the day, with not a whole lot of depth, the Sixers did a good enough job with their bench play to not be completely deficient.
Trevor Booker is looking like a great acquisition for the Sixers after dealing Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes. Booker finished the game shooting 5-of-9 from the field. He did an excellent job of distributing his rebounds between the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, collecting five offensive boards and four defensive.
Richaun Holmes has been arguably the MVP of the Sixers' bench as of late, as he compiled 12 points to go along with his nine rebounds and two blocks.
Going forward, it's going to be nice to look at both Booker and Holmes to be the cornerstones of the Sixers' bench going forward, as they are already looking like a solid tandem for this team.
The big story of the night for the Sixers was the inclusion of Furkan Korkmaz, who stepped into a role he definitely didn't expect to be in at game's start, when Embiid was ruled out with a back injury.
Korkmaz ended up getting to play 20 minutes on the floor, a season-high, and had five points, three rebounds, and an assist on 2-of-6 shooting, going 1-of-4 from three.
While it doesn't look like Korkmaz had an efficient game on paper, the reverse slam dunk made his moments worth it in the end, as the rookie wowed the New Orleans crowd with his impressive move.
Jerryd Bayless, well there isn't much that can be said about him once again, as his shooting struggles continued, going 1-of-7 from the field getting three points off his one three-pointer in five attempts.
The Sixers' leading scorers were JJ Redick and Ben Simmons, who had 28 and 27 points respectively.
Simmons finished with 10 assists as well. He became the eighth player in the NBA with 15 double-doubles this season, leading all rookies.

Redick was efficient from the floor, going 8-of-14 and 3-of-7 from three. Redick did get nine points off of free throw shots, shooting a perfect 9-of-9 from the line.
Dario Saric got himself another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot got the start at small forward for the injured Robert Covington on Sunday night.
Maybe Brett Brown thought that TLC would have better success shooting if he was a starter instead of a bench piece, but that just didn't come to fruition. TLC had four points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field and went a sullen 0-for-4 from downtown.
With another poor shooting performance logged for Luwawu-Cabarrot against the Pelicans, his field goal percentage dwindled down to 39.7-percent. TLC is shooting 31.2-percent from three so far.
In four games in December, TLC has now shot 29.4-percent from the field, and has missed every one of his three-point attempts, now an abysmal 0-for-11 in his last five games from behind-the-arc.
Who would've thought the Pelicans leading scorer was going to be former Sixer Jrue Holiday who had 34 points, five assists, four boards, two steals, and two blocks.
Anthony Davis had 29 points, eight rebounds, four assists, five blocks, and a steal to pace New Orleans, and DeMarcus Cousins also had an efficient game with 23 points and nine rebounds, not nearly as potent as many thought he would be without Embiid in the starting lineup for Philly.
Gosh, Rajon Rondo just looked like he was back in Boston with the performance he put on for the SmoothieKing Center crowd on Sunday night, whose 18 dimes trumped his 13 points. Add in five steals and you have a very, very solid performance from the former four-time all-star.
The Pels bench looked almost as inefficient as the Sixers' bench with only three scorers with Dante Cunningham leading the way with 10 points and four rebounds. The bench combined for 18 of the Pelicans' 131 points and went 6-of-12 from the floor.
The Pelicans just overall shot the ball much better compared to the Sixers, shooting 57.5-percent (46-80) overall, 62.5-percent (15-24) from three amd 75-percent (24-32) from the line.
The Sixers shot 45.8-percent (44-96) from the field, 31-percent (9-29) from downtown and a smooth 90-percent (27-30) from the charity stripe.
The Sixers were unable to see their losing streak be snapped, as it sits at four games, but they hope that Embiid will be able to play in their next game, when they travel to Minnesota on Tuesday night to face the Timberwolves.
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