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Friday, January 31, 2014

Sixers' Tony Wroten says ankle sprain is not to blame for his recent shooting woes

(Associated Press)

Tony Wroten is out of sorts, but he’s not blaming his sprained right ankle.

The 76ers’ sixth man had another rough outing Friday night, in a 125-99 loss to Atlanta. Wroten went 1-for-13 from the floor, including 0-for-4 from 3-point range, with six points, three assists and two turnovers.

“It’s not 100 percent,” Wroten said of his bad ankle, “but that has nothing to do with the way I play.”

Wroten missed three games this month due to a right ankle sprain he picked up Jan. 18 at Chicago. Since his return last week, he’s played poorly in four straight games: 8-for-33 overall, including 0-for-9 from long range, with averages of 5.8 points, 1.2 assists and 2.0 turnovers per game.

“Just part of the game. You go through strings like this,” he said.

Coach Brett Brown, without singling out individuals, said the Sixers need to play more completely. He said too often the Sixers attempt to shoot their way back into close games, rather than defend, make stops and force turnovers.

Wroten’s game has not lent itself to much at the defensive end. Even still, Brown said he can find fault in the second-year guard’s offensive game.

“I speak to Tony often. We challenge him directly on the importance of being a point guard,” Brown said. “We know he can get to the rim, but you have to grow to make other people better. When is the crowd not your friend? You have to kick it, because he has that skill of getting to the rim. We challenge him always. You’re more than just an attack guy at the rim. You have to grow to be more than that.

“When he isn’t finishing, he gets deflated. There’s a sadness, at times, that he has to get over. I have to help him. He’s 20 years old. You’ve got to kick him in the tail and get him up. Life’s not that bad. And get him moving, let’s go.”

The Sixers (15-32) visit Detroit (18-27) Saturday.

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