Teams looking to take that next step finish off games and opponents like this one.
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The Sixers battled back in the second half before ultimately suffering a 109-108 loss to the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on Thursday night.
De'Aaron Fox hit a pull-up jumper with 13.4 seconds remaining in regulation to put the Kings ahead by one. The Sixers struggled to find a decent look on the other end before Joel Embiid rimmed a jumper to seal the defeat.
The loss snapped the Sixers' five-game win streak and dropped their record to 6-5.
• After missing Tuesday's win over the Utah Jazz, Embiid returned to the lineup against the Kings.
The extra rest didn't appear to do Embiid any favors early on as he looked rusty and lethargic for much of the first half. However, the big man came on strong late to still notch 22 points (7 for 20 shooting), 15 rebounds and three blocks.
• How does a team that's last in the NBA in scoring (93.8 points per game) put up 64 points in the first half? It simply shoots 50 percent from the field and 61.5 percent from three-point range.
• That effort has a lot to do with the Kings' bench. Led by Justin Jackson (19 points) and Fox (11 points, seven assists), Sacramento's reserves sparked the team's charge. The Kings won the battle of the bench points, 56-17.
• It appears the only way to slow down Ben Simmons is to get him in foul trouble. Simmons was limited to a season-low 27 minutes as he picked up five fouls in the contest. He still managed to put up 18 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in the game.
• You've heard the phrase "California cool" before, but one incident on Thursday night was a little bit different. Robert Covington was fouled by Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting a three-pointer early in the first quarter. Covington stepped to the stripe and nailed the first two free throws before several players for both teams began to run down the court the other way. They clearly forgot it was a three-point attempt and had to come back down for the final free throw, which Covington sank.
• Speaking of Covington, that wasn't the only time he was fouled on a three-pointer. It actually happened three times in the game. The other two went in to give Covington chances at the four-point play. He pulled off the feat once.
Overall, it was another strong outing for the swingman. He finished with 24 points on 7 of 16 shooting (6 of 12 from long range).
While most Americans are counting the days to Thanksgiving, Covington has his eyes set a little bit earlier to Nov. 15. That marks the day he can officially begin working on a new deal with the Sixers. #PayThatMan
• Embiid and Simmons continue to carry the offensive load for the Sixers, but the dynamic duo is also leading the way with miscues. Embiid and Simmons combined for nine of the team's 17 turnovers in the loss. The Kings had nine turnovers as a team on Thursday night.
• Sixers special advisor Jerry Colangelo joined the broadcast for a stretch during the first and second quarters. He touched on several topics, including his thoughts on the team's early-season performance.
"I'm very pleased," Colangelo said. "I'm very excited about the future and the development of some of the young players. It truly is a process in terms of how long. It will take a while for them to mesh. At midseason we're gonna have a much better feel for who they are."
• Jerryd Bayless (left wrist contusion) and Markelle Fultz (right shoulder soreness/scapular muscle imbalance) were sidelined for the Sixers. Vince Carter (illness) and Harry Giles (rehab for both knees) were the only players out for the Kings.
• The Sixers' road trip continues in California on Saturday night with a matchup against the champion Golden State Warriors (8:30 p.m./NBC Sports Philadelphia).