Things were not looking good for the Sixers at halftime of game one against the Hawks on Sunday. After a scorching hot start shooting the ball, Atlanta broke out to a lead that got as high as 26 points.
The Sixers turned the tides in the second half and clawed their way back into the game. Game one went down to the wire as the Sixers turned it into a one-possession game in the final minutes.
In the end, the Sixers fell just short of a monumental comeback. Atlanta walked away with a 128-124 win to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Many areas can be attributed to the Sixers' downfall, but one stands out. Failing to take care of the ball early on is what allowed the Hawks to get extra possessions and break out to an early lead.
After the game, players and coaches discussed the Sixers' turnover issues on Sunday. Doc Rivers felt their lack of ball security was as big a factor in the first-half deficit as their defense on Hawks' All-Star Trae Young.
"They played harder early. They took care of the ball, and we didn't. You can't have nine turnovers to start the first quarter and expect to be up. I thought that contributed as much as our coverage on Trae," said Rivers.
Tobias Harris later echoed some of his coach's points. He thought that turnovers negatively impacted the team's ability to work their way back into the game.
"Turnovers hurt us, it was 19 turnovers. Playing a game like that, when you turn the ball over that many times, it just hurt at times when we were trying to play catch-up basketball," said Harris postgame.
The quantity of turnovers is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons why the Sixers currently trail in the series. No matter who the opponent is, you cannot give the ball away 19 times and expect to win in the postseason. Especially when half of them occur in the opening quarter.
As the Sixers prepare to even the series in game two, taking care of the ball needs to be a primary focus.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.