NBA teams impress by 76ers’ tough play, hustle

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76ers coach Brett Brown called the loss “cruel.”

He was right.

It’s been that kind of season – frustrating, maddening and, yes, cruel.

Through 24 games, the Sixers are 2-22. They’ve yet to win at home, going 0-13 following Monday’s 18-point loss to the Boston Celtics.

The Sixers are inching toward setting a dubious record for the most home losses to open a season. In 1993-94, the Dallas Mavericks began 0-19 at home.

With one home game remaining in 2014 – Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets – the Sixers are searching for their first win at the Wells Fargo Center since April 14.

Back on Saturday night, the Sixers looked primed to break the streak as they pulled ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies by 18 points with 7:35 remaining. But Mike Conley got red hot, finished with a career-best 36 points and helped the Grizzlies win in overtime.

It’s been that type of season.

“I want to stand here and tell everybody that it’s a great learning experience, and there’s some truth to that,” Brown said. “But the truth of the matter is, that’s a gut-wrenching loss. That’s a fact. I feel for those guys.’”

So does Conley.

“You can see how hard they’re playing and it was tough for us,” said Conley, who sent the game into overtime with an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer. “They play so hard and never give up. We just made a few plays we needed at the end. We were fortunate. I was so impressed with how they competed.”

On just about every night, the Sixers have competed like crazy. They just don’t have the pieces in place yet. Or the experience.

Reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams picked up his second triple-double of the season against the Grizzlies with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. But he struggled mightily down the stretch and through overtime with a number of costly turnovers and poor shot selection.

“My overtime performance was terrible,” MCW said. “I was trying to do too much. I was pretty upset the game even got to overtime, and I let it get to me.”

“(MCW) just wanted to bring us home. He wanted to do too much — that fine line of attacking and being aggressive,” Brown added. “He was strong throughout most of the game, and in overtime we just didn’t have the ability to execute.”

Following the game against the Hornets, the Sixers will embark on a seven-game road trip.

They’re still searching for that elusive home win.

“They’ll get it,” Conley said. “Like I said, they play so hard. They’ll get it.”

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