Philadelphia News: Sixers receive stern message from Nick Nurse following consecutive losses.

Philadelphia News: Sixers receive stern message from Nick Nurse following consecutive losses.

Nick Nurse sends stern message to Sixers after back-to-back clunkers

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers are in a rut. Two straight home games resulted in dismal showings that ended in defeat. A lot has been going right for the Sixers this season but these last two games will recalibrate the team’s urgency levels.

After getting smacked around by the New York Knicks, the Sixers came right back and put up a poor performance against a sub-.500 Utah Jazz team.

Missing Joel Emiid, De’Anthony Melton, Tobias Harris and Robert Covington in the rotation for that second game hurt but the uninspired play from Nick Nurse’s squad made for a loss that can’t just be chalked up to injuries.

Nurse was visibly discontent during his postgame media availability, saying the Sixers are in for a “physical” practice after their mandatory off day. The message to the team is simple: those losses need to be learning experiences, not the beginning of a trend.

The Sixers have dealt with injuries and absences all season long but Nurse staunchly believes they have enough continuity to play better than they did against the Jazz, who shot 30/34 on shots at the rim.

“I believe even though you’re missing whatever five guys that those guys can collectively play together better than that,” Nurse said.

They can execute better

In both the half-court and transition, the Sixers’ defense was as bad as can be. Embiid’s absence could not have been more apparent on that end. He was missed badly on offense, too, as Tyrese Maxey shot just 9/24 from deep and struggled to lead the way without the big man.

The Sixers’ next game is Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks, the lone road game in a stretch of the schedule with six out of seven games coming at home. They’ll see the Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets after that game, making it the perfect opportunity to get out of the rut.

“I mean honestly, we definitely need a day off. But we definitely need to get into the gym and get better — fix the ship, get it right, come back next game back to our normal selves,” Kelly Oubre Jr. said. “I don’t think we’ve been ourselves these last two games and it’s obviously shown in our results.

But it’s time to get back. We’re human beings. Everybody has off days and things like that but it’s definitely unacceptable to lose two in a row.”

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