Live-Ball Turnovers can mean death for the Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers have a turnover problem and to be more exact they have a live-ball turnover problem. If they are going to make it to the playoffs and have a real chance to do some damage Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will have to take better care of the Turnovers really hurt a team’s offense but live-ball turnovers kill teams’ chances at winning games. So what is the difference between a live-ball turnover and a dead ball turnover?

A dead ball turnover is when the ball changes possession after the whistle has blown the play dead thus ending the possession. A live-ball turnover is when the defense comes up with a steal and keeps the ball in play. The Sixers are leading the league in turnovers and the type of turnovers is really putting their defense at a disadvantage because it usually leads to easy baskets for the other team.

Besides leading the league in turnovers averaging 18.3 a game, they also top the league with a turnover percentage (percentage of possessions that end in a turnover) at 17.5% and given up the most points off of turnovers at 19.6 a game. It can’t really be stressed enough how soul-crushing turnovers can be, in particular when a team does a good job on the defensive end to get a stop only to give the ball away without getting a shot off.

76ers TPG TOV% Opp Pts Off TOs Total TOs Total Live-Ball TOs
17-18 18.3 (1st) 17.5% (1st) 19.6 (1st) 604 (1st) 312 (1st)

In the Sixers loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, they turned the ball over 22 times that led to 28 points for the Raptors. 15 of them were live-ball turnovers (, which just destroyed them throughout the game. Below are just a few examples of these turnovers, Embiid tried to force the ball to Dario Saric despite him being guarded by two Raptors, Jerryd Bayless lazily threw a pass that was almost directly to Delon Wright, and then Simmons lost the ball trying to go through two defenders.

Against the New York Knicks on Christmas Day, the Sixers were on pace to close the game out with the fewest turnovers they had all season with nine. Then in the final two minutes, they turned the ball over six times nearly blowing the game. Lucky for them, the Knicks weren’t able to convert on those miscues; they definitely dodged a bullet.

Turnovers really put teams in a bad spot but at least with dead ball turnovers teams can set their defense and have a better chance of getting a stop. The Sixers are a good defensive team, ranked in the top ten in defensive rating; they want to be able to set their defense. Live-ball turnovers often lead to fast break opportunities for their opponents and really are their Achilles heel. Turnovers always hurt but live-ball turnovers will kill the Sixers.

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