Turnover City: Examining how the Sixers have won 15 games

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers team that lost by a combined 88 points over the span of two games has actually won 15 this season. How has that even been possible?

While watching the Sixers get subsequently manhandled by the Clippers and Warriors earlier this week, the predominant thought by those watching was simply, "how on God's green earth did this team win 15 games this year?"

I tried to explain how the Sixers were victorious through their first 3 games of the season, but figuring out a trend during these last 12 wins seemed a lot more difficult. Some chalked the W's up to "schedule wins" and catching opposing teams on a SEGABABA.

But there's also this: 11 of the 12 teams the Sixers have beaten since Spencer Hawes was finger-pistoling the Bulls off the Wells Fargo Center floor have come against teams in the bottom half of the NBA in forcing turnovers, per NBA.com.

Seven of those 12 teams rank in the bottom-10, the Kings rank 20th and the Cavs rank 19th. Of the other three teams, the Knicks and Bucks rank 15th and the Nets rank 8th.

It makes sense. While the Sixers are the second best team in the league, behind only the Heat, at forcing turnovers, they‘re also in the cellar at turning the ball over, giving the rock up a whopping 17.2 times per game. The high number of turnovers is certainly due to Brett Brown's preferred pace and the majority of his players' inability to create his own shot.

"It continues to haunt us," Brown said of his team's incredible tendency to turn the ball over after their loss in Brooklyn on Feb. 3. "We have to get more responsible with the ball and I have to do a better job because it bites us continually."

When facing a team that doesn't force Michael Carter-Williams to pass to his offensively-challenged teammates and then doesn't jump into the passing lanes, that's when you see the Sixers play more efficiently in the half-court. This team is currently dead-last in offensive efficiency as well. So it takes some impressively bad defense to force this offense to look competent.

With that in mind, it might not be a coincidence that the Sixers were absolutely demolished by the Warriors and Clippers, which rank 9th and 12th in the league in forcing turnovers, respectively, while the team challenged the Jazz, a team that ranks 29th in the league in that category, until the final buzzer on Wednesday.

Moving forward, 18 of the 28 games remaining on the Sixers roster come against teams that fall in the bottom-half of the league in forcing turnovers. Just something to keep your eye on.

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