It hasn't been all sunshine in Florida for the Philadelphia 76ers after the last couple of days. As the team was riding on its high horse after a dominant win against the Bucks on Christmas day, the Sixers were facing a tough two-game stretch against the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat on the road.
On Friday night, the Sixers coasted into Orlando, assuming they could hand in a sub-par performance and still get a win. Well, they quickly found out that wasn't the case, and ended up having to try and play catch up down towards the final minutes of the game.
While the Sixers came back and made it interesting against the Magic, they ultimately ended up losing by one point after a poor effort on both sides of the ball. Sixers' forward Tobias Harris made it seem as if the team was going to take that negative energy and turn it into a positive the following night against Miami, but Philly failed to bounce back.
Saturday night's game against the Heat was already a tough matchup on paper for the Sixers. As Miami exposed the 76ers in their own house with a heavy dose of zone defense just a couple of weeks ago, the Sixers knew they were walking into a challenging game.
This time around, the Sixers looked more prepared to counter the Heat's game plan for them. Overall though, it wasn't enough. It was a hard-fought battle by the Sixers, who managed to get the game into overtime -- but the final missed shot by an ice-cold Tobias Harris sent the Sixers packing with back to back losses in the state of Florida.
Following the loss against the Heat, multiple players echoed the same sentiment of Friday night's postgame message. Apparently, the intensity of the team was spotty. Some Sixers players believe that they are "picking and choosing" when to play with a maximum effort, as opposed to playing top-notch ball throughout the entire four quarters and some change.
This isn't the first time the Sixers fell into a mini-slump, struggling with multiple losses while questioning their effort. The hope is that this will be the last time that happens throughout the year, though. At this point, it's still kind of early on in the season. And every team is entitled to lose games, as there are a ton of matchups left on schedule.
However, Sixers' head coach Brett Brown mentioned the team should know who they are by Christmas time. Right now, the Sixers still look like a team that doesn't know their true identity. And with their effort still getting questioned in late December, it's time for the team leaders to step up and motivate their guys to get on the same page. Otherwise, some changes may need to be made in order to make an example.