It’s good to be home. I felt that way arriving at Philadelphia International Airport yesterday afternoon after a four-day road trip to Dallas and Indianapolis. The 76ers have to feel the same way.
For me, it’s about being able to sleep in my own bed and get back to my daily routine. For them, it’s some of that and more. It appears being at home is the best way for them to get back to winning.
How else can you explain their 18-2 record at the Wells Fargo Center, compared to a 7-14 mark and six straight losses on the road?
The Sixers (25-16) will look to lock up their 19th home victory tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, who feature All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. We’ll see if they can beat the Nets (18-21), losers of eight of their last 10 games.
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— Keith Pompey (email@example.com)
It has to be the rims, right?
Right now, it seems people are dissecting and criticizing everything Brett Brown says when things go wrong.
The 76ers coach recently said that his squad needed to shoot more three-pointers. Now, he’s being criticized for those comments after the Sixers basically participated in jack-up-and-miss-threes contests during their recent two-game road trip.
The Sixers made just 9 of 37 three-pointers, 24.3%, in Saturday’s 109-91 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. They followed that up by making just 6 of 33 threes, 18.3%, in Monday’s 101-95 setback to the Indiana Pacers.
On the surface, it’s easy to criticize Brown for suggesting the team attempt more three-pointers. Folks will point to the team’s lack of sharpshooters. They’ll say the Sixers have some guys who can make three-point shots, just not three-point shooters. For the most part, they are right.
However, very few people criticized Brown for requesting more threes after a 109-98 home victory over the Boston Celtics on Jan. 9. Back then, the Sixers made 11 of 27 threes, 40.7%.
You see, the problem is Philly has been recently shooting three-pointers well at home and poorly on the road. The Sixers have shot a combined 47-for-185 (25.4%) during their six-game road skid. They have shot a combined 45-for-97 (46.3%) in their last three home games, all victories.
So the problem isn’t the number of three-point shots. Rather, it’s hitting three-point shots on the road.
For Sixers center Joel Embiid, the signature UA Embiid 1 from Under Armour. Embiid will become the only center and 17th NBA player with a signature shoe.
Lackluster shooting and late-game blunders are dooming the Sixers on the road. They boast an 18-2 home record but have lost six straight games on the road, where they’re 7-14.
The Sixers’ perimeter woes are not limited to shooting. Lack of crunch-time scoring needs to be addressed.
Sixers’ Josh Richardson was named the NBA Eastern Conference player of week. The shooting guard averaged 22.7 points and 3.7 assists and shot 51.1%, leading the Sixers to a 2-1 record last week.
Sixers podcast: Another horrible road loss by a team lacking an identity. Horrid three-point shooting, a third-quarter lapse, and lack of late ball movement doomed the Sixers against Indiana.
‘We’re in a groove’
The Utah Jazz are the hottest team in NBA. Yes, the Jazz.
The team that was struggling when it faced the Sixers back on Dec. 2 has won 10 straight games after beating the Nets, 118-107, Tuesday night at the Barclays Center. In all, the Jazz have won 15 of their last 16 games.
''We're in a groove,'' Donovan Mitchell told the media after Tuesday’s game.
They’re also in second place in the Western Conference standings with a 28-12 record. With a balanced squad and a solid coach in Quin Snyder, this squad could stand in the way of an All-Los Angeles Western Conference Finals. Stay tuned.
Important dates: Next Five Flow
Today: Brooklyn Nets at Sixers, 7 p.m., ESPN
Friday: Chicago Bulls at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN
Saturday: Sixers at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. NBC Sports Philadelphia
Monday: Sixers at Brooklyn Nets, 3 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Jan. 22: Sixers at Toronto Raptors, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Passing the rock
Question: [Sixers coach Brett] Brown acknowledged this team isn’t where it’s supposed to be chemistry wise. How long should fans be patient with this team as they seem to be trending in the wrong direction from a win standpoint? — from @jameslander on Twitter
Answer: What’s up, James? Thanks for the great question. I must admit this is a tough one to answer because of their struggles on the road and roster construction.
It’s hard for me to blame a fan for being impatient right now, with all the lofty expectations for this season. Brown actually doubled-down on the outside expectations in the preseason, adding to more hype. But at this point, the team is underachieving and lacks an identity and the pieces don’t fit. So it would be hard to remain patient, especially considering the team missed Brown’s Christmas deadline to build chemistry.
However, I think we will have to see what the Sixers do after the trade deadline and when Embiid returns. We all know they need to add shooters, and as Brown says, “Embiid is the crown jewel.”
I would definitely lose patience if they continue to underachieve after the roster moves and Embiid returns.