MILWAUKEE — Happy Friday, folks.
The 76ers would love to begin this weekend with a much-needed victory over the Memphis Grizzlies tonight over at the Wells Fargo Center. They’re coming off a 112-101 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night at Fiserv Forum.
The setback extended their losing streak to four games. It was also their fifth straight road loss and 11th in 13 games. The Sixers (31-21) are 9-19 on the road. So being at home, where they’re 22-2, has to be refreshing.
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As Joel Embiid sees it, he needs to go back to having fun.
That’s what the Sixers center tried to do in Thursday vs. the Bucks.
“I’m trying to get back to the fun Joel,” he said. “Smile a little more. The whole season, I kind of told myself I was going to be serious. I felt like everybody just looked at it in a way that I’m moody or I do not care. I do.
“I want to win. But at the same time, I try to have a different attitude. Obviously, it hasn’t been working. So I have to go back to that fun Joel.”
He plans to remain locked in and help the Sixers get over their losing skids any way that he can.
Thursday, the perennial All-Star had 19 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 block. However, he made just 6 of 26 field goals.
Sixers coach Brett Brown was happy with Embiid’s number of shots. The team’s franchise player actually played his best basketball in the fourth quarter, scoring nine points and hitting 2 of 5 three-pointers.
Some folks laughed at the Houston Rockets for saying they didn’t need a center after trading 6-foot-10 Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. Their laughter grew louder when guard James Harden jumped and lost the opening tip Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.
But the laughs turned into intrigue after a Rockets team without a player taller than 6-8 pulled off a 121-111 victory over the Western Conference’s top team. A lot of that had to do with point guard Russell Westbrook and former Sixer Robert Covington, the team’s tallest player.
Westbrook scored 41 points, and Covington hit two clutch late three-pointers en route to finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds. The Rockets acquired Covington from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a four-team trade that sent Capela to the Hawks.
Today: Memphis Grizzlies at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Sunday: Chicago Bulls at Sixers, 6 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Tuesday: Los Angeles Clippers at Sixers, 7 p.m., TNT
Feb. 20: Brooklyn Nets at Sixers, 8 p.m., TNT
Feb. 22: Sixers at Milwaukee Bucks, 8:30 p.m., ABC
Question: Will the Sixers improve after these moves and get up to No. 3 and No. 4 seed? — @Sixxersreport on Twitter
Answer: Good morning, and thanks for the question. I do believe the Sixers will battle for at least a fourth seed for the playoffs. A lot of it has to do with their schedule. At this moment, the Sixers have the fourth-easiest remaining strength of schedule at .462, according to Tankathon.com. That alone should help them into at least a No. 4 seed.
But to me, that will be a little misleading in regards to improvement. We won’t know if their success is just a result of playing struggling teams until the postseason. Unlike they drastically improve, they could still fall victim to a first- or second-round exit even with a third or fourth seed.