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Kings Snap Sixers’ Winning Streak in a Truly Ugly Game of Basketball

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

So maybe today was a bad time to write about the Sixers’ opponents shooting like trash from three-point range. The Sacramento Kings - shooting 35.4% from three on the season - drained 50% of their threes in the first half and went 12 of 27 on the night on the way to ending the Sixers’ win streak at 5. It was hideous.

Joel Embiid looked out of sorts all game - we’ll get to the closing play in a minute - but turned it on in the 4th quarter, ending with 22/15/2. However, he shot only 7 for 20 from the floor, attempting at least 20 shots for only the 5th time in his career and tying his third-worst FG% in his career. Ben Simmons was neutralized for much of the game after getting three fouls in the first half and getting tagged for his fourth almost immediately out of halftime (the officiating, as is a theme this season, was bad). Simmons did recover from his worst game as a pro by hitting 6 of his 8 shots from the floor and another 6 of 8 from the line. The star of the game, for the Sixers at least, was Robert Covington, who is officially 50% from three on the year after going 6 for 12 tonight and sprinting all over the place and leaving his stamp on the game at every turn. But at the same time, blah blah blah.

You can’t let the Kings, who score fewer than 94 points a game, drop 109 on you. You can’t hand them the ball 17 times. But let’s talk that final play. Covington sagged off of De’Aaron Fox to make him a shooter, not the worst decision, and Fox hit a jumper. The Sixers then had about 13 seconds and two timeouts. Now, Brett Brown NEVER calls timeouts in these situations. He lets the team ride and go for the shot without letting the defense think about things. That’s the right call sometimes. But let’s look at the play:

Brown said after the game that they had plenty of time to discuss the play in the prior stoppage - the clock was stopped for about a minute while the refs reviewed a play - but what happened at the end was “the end result of chaos.” He’s right. J.J. should’ve shot instead of pump-faked, then maybe called a timeout. JoJo shouldn’t have picked up his dribble when he did (pretty sure he traveled on the replay too). It was a mess.

Point differential aside, this is probably the Sixers’ worst loss all season. There’s no reason they should have even been even in a position to lose that game, and then put up that effort in the end. They let the Kings back in at every single turn and every time they were in a position to put them away, a turnover led to an easy bucket for Sacramento.

The next game won’t be an easier, as the Sixers face the Warriors in Oakland on Saturday and their long road trip continues on. It only gets harder.

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