The Sixers lost a third straight game on Thursday night to fall to 15-15 and 8th place in the Eastern Conference.

Similar story from the night before. They came out looking rough, conceded a huge lead at the half, and then clawed their way all the way back into the game, only for Philadelphia Union part-owner Kevin Durant to drop a couple of late daggers.

That’s the CliffsNotes version. Joel Embiid and Seth Curry played really well in the second half, and they came all the way back to tie the game at 103 with 1:50 remaining on the clock. Then Brooklyn made their next three field goals while adding a couple of free throws to ice the game.

I clipped some of the final looks for each team, for your viewing pleasure:

Obviously there’s not much to say about Durant. He’s a stone-cold killer. A unicorn wing who can create his own offense. A brilliant closer. That’s a bad Tobias Harris foul, but KD knocking down that three, and then the one-handed baseline floater over Embiid? I mean Christ almighty. Sometimes you just “shake their hand,” as Brett Brown used to say.

The Blake Griffin three pointer is whatever. They decided to trap Durant with a second body, so he dumped it off to Griffin instead, and 100 times out of 100 you’re okay with Griffin taking that shot. He tried five threes last night and only hit that one. He is a 32.7% career shooter from three who is hitting at 18.2% this season. If you can get the ball out of Durant’s hands, only for a non-shooter to finally hit a shot, so be it. It is what it is.

On the other end, the Sixers did get decent looks. Seth Curry coming around a screen for a pull-up three? You’ll take that. Embiid backing down Griffin in the post? You’ll take that. The other team was just better in the clutch than the Sixers were.

To me, you can take all of the Sixers’ various issues (no Simmons, Harris struggling, etc), and the biggest issue I still think is the lack of a pure closer. You look at how easily Durant initiates these late game possessions. It’s so fluid and natural. The Sixers always seemingly have to work harder in late half court possessions, and they’re playing through a seven-foot center or trying to get peripheral non-creators like Curry or Harris on the ball. The Sixers really have needed that perimeter killer for years now, and that’s what you hope to get back in a Ben Simmons trade.

Tobias Harris

Yeesh. Another absymal night for Harris.

He finished 3-17 from the floor and was 0-5 from three.

I clipped as many of his FGA as I could fit in a Twitter video right here:

Those aren’t terrible looks. Catch and shoot threes. Taking smaller guys into the paint. It wasn’t exactly what we saw the other night against Memphis, where he seemed hesitant and was passing on decent shots. Last night, he just couldn’t finish anything at all. Could not throw the ball in the ocean if he was standing on the Windrift balcony.

He’s a $35 million dollar player. Max guy. I know he’s trying to return from COVID, and we have no idea how he’s feeling on any given night, but without Ben Simmons out there, and with other guys coming in and out of the lineup on a nightly basis, the Sixers aren’t going to be competitive if they’re getting these kinds of Tobias performances. They can’t be reliant on Embiid and Curry to carry them to anything better than what they are right now, which is a .500 team playing $33 million below the cap because of this ridiculous hold out.