The 76ers are about to enjoy a lot more home cooking, with 13 of their next 18 games at the Wells Fargo Center.
They are coming off a 114-95 victory Sunday at Cleveland that wasn’t as close as the final score, and they will host the New York Knicks tonight to begin a three-game homestand. They’'ll be looking to string some consistent basketball together.
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Harris staying the course
Sixers forward Tobias Harris is coming off his best game of the season. In fact, Harris has put together two quality games in a row, which is expected for someone who signed a five-year, $180 million extension, but wasn’t happening recently.
Friday, he scored 21 points and shot 8-for-16 from the field and 3-for-4 from beyond the arc in a 127-119 overtime loss at Oklahoma City. During Sunday’s win in Cleveland, he finished with 27 points, hitting 12 of 14 from the field and 1 of 2 from three-point range.
Before the Oklahoma City game, Harris had been 1-for-24 on threes in his previous six contests.
After Tuesday’s practice, Harris was asked if the last game was a confidence builder. He almost seemed surprised by the question.
“It is the same thing like any other game. I have the most confidence in myself and my game and the work I put in, and I don’t let many things affect my mental state and where I am at,” Harris said.
His confidence was tested during his struggles, especially when he missed all 11 of his three-pointers last week during a 98-97 win over the same Cavaliers.
“Even when I had a couple of bad shooting nights, I don’t really pay attention to any noise, as long as I can walk into our locker room and look every man in his eye, my teammates, and still have the support from them, and them understanding my game and pushing me," Harris said.
He said his teammates’ response to his performance Sunday meant the world to him.
“The biggest thing with having a game like Cleveland was seeing my teammates be happy for that,” he said. “I am always putting in the work and I trust my work and I have confidence in myself and my game.”
Harris is averaging 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season. He is shooting 25.5% from three-point range.
After practice Tuesday, coach Brett Brown and the players talked about the advantage of playing at home, Erin McCarthy writes.
Brown hedged when asked to comment on an ESPN report that he would be coaching the Australian national team in the 2020 Olympics, McCarthy writes.
Keith Pompey writes that Simmons still isn’t shooting from distance and has yet to attempt a three-point shot.
Two weeks ago, the Sixers were No. 1, and now they have dropped out of the top 10 in The Inquirer’s NBA power rankings.
David Murphy writes that days away from Jimmy Butler’s return, the Sixers are still struggling to replace him.
New York continues to support a flawed team
It’s often said that in New York, teams can’t rebuild because fans aren’t patient enough to wait through the laborious process. Tonight’s Sixers opponent, the New York Knicks, have shot down that theory.
The Knicks will enter the Wells Fargo Center with a 4-10 record — somehow with two wins over a good Dallas team. They have gone six full years without making the playoffs and are a good bet to make it seven this year.
The Knicks have made the playoffs just four times in the past 18 seasons and have advanced past the first round just once, when they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2013.
Since the 2001-02 season, the Knicks have employed 12 head coaches. The latest, David Fizdale, seems on the hot seat.
Those so-called impatient New York fans continue to support their team, though. New York entered Tuesday seventh in the NBA in attendance, averaging 19,365 fans, 97.7% of capacity.
One footnote: The Sixers lead the NBA in attendance, averaging 20,307.
Important dates: Next Five Flow
Tonight: Knicks at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Friday: San Antonio Spurs at Sixers, 8 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia and ESPN
Saturday: Miami Heat at Sixers, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Nov. 25: Sixers at Toronto Raptors, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Nov. 27: Sacramento Kings at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Passing the rock
Question: How can we acquire a second team ball handler/scorer that’s not afraid of the moment? — @KevinTud18291
Answer: Thanks for the question, Kevin. If you recall, last month, Keith Pompey wrote about such a candidate and he is a free agent: Jamal Crawford. The Sixers would have to waive or trade a player to make room, but for a proven scorer, it would be worth it.
I know that Crawford will turn 40 in March, but he is a combo guard who is fearless, never afraid to take a big shot. He is great driving to the basket and drawing fouls and is a career 86.2% free-throw shooter. In his final game with Phoenix, he scored 51 points. Why he hasn’t caught on with a team is mystifying.