Heading into Saturday night's matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Philadelphia 76ers were heavily favored for obvious reasons. Despite being without Tobias Harris, the 22-11 Sixers had the better record over the shorthanded 12-21 Cavs.
But that didn't stop Cleveland from believing they weren't able to win Saturday night's game. From the jump, you could tell the Cavaliers might end up being a handful for the 76ers who came out flat since the tip-off.
Through the first quarter, the Sixers trailed five points. After getting outscored 28-24 in the second quarter, the 76ers went into halftime, losing 56-47. While Philly didn't look sharp at all in the first half, they had an upper-hand with their depth.
As the Cavaliers were missing a handful of players, fatigue could've set in for them in the second half, allowing the Sixers to make a small comeback, get in the lead, and take over in the final two quarters. However, that's not how the game went.
While the Sixers outscored the Cavaliers 23-16 in the third quarter, they still couldn't get out in front and hold a lead. Although they managed to finally pull out in front during the fourth quarter, they couldn't secure a victory during the final possession, which forced the game to go into overtime.
Despite forming a comeback, the Sixers didn't pick up an ounce of energy in overtime, which eventually led to a 112-109 loss. "I just thought we came out flat with zero energy tonight," Doc Rivers said after the game. "Give them credit; they played so much harder than us. You know, through the game, I thought we had one quarter with energy in the third quarter. Other than that, they basically got the shots they wanted all game."
As for the Sixers, their offense looked out of sorts. As they drained just 35-percent of their threes, 65-percent of their free throws, and turned the ball over 18 times, the 76ers simply couldn't get a rhythm going.
"We just refused to get into anything," Rivers continued. "We didn't get into our early offense at the makes. We didn't get into our sets with any speed or pace. It looked like, honestly, we were running our offense like it was a walkthrough in the first half. I thought in the third quarter, we picked it up a little bit and had a sense of urgency, but we just didn't handle a lot of stuff very well tonight. This is one of those games where you watch the film and show (the team) a lack of effort instead of a lack of execution."
Aside from Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, who contributed to 66 of Philly's 109 points, the entire team looked uninspired and unorganized. While the loss doesn't necessarily draw any red flags for the Sixers, they certainly can't allow playing down to a lesser opponent on paper become a trend.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_