West Coast foes envy Sixers pace
LOS ANGELES _ The 76ers might not win a lot of games. But their style of play has impressed opposing coaches on their West Coast road trip.
The Los Angeles Lakers, at times, had trouble keeping up with that pace on Sunday night at the Staples Center. The Sixers prevailed, 111-104, to snap a 13-game road losing streak.
"It's good _ definitely a high-octane kind of pace," said Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni of the Sixers up-tempo play. "I think they are No. 2 in points in the paint and No. 1 in fastbreak points. That's pretty impressive."
Casual fans look at the Sixers (9-21) as a team that is in serious rebuilding mode. But they are leading the NBA in possessions per game at 105.5. The Sixers trail only Detroit in points in the paint per game. The Pistons averaged 51.8, the Sixers 50.6.
The Sixers are also third in the league in fastbreak points at 16.9 per game.
"I wish we had their pace," said Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek, whose team defeated the Sixers, 115-101, on Saturday at US Airways Center. "They've got a bunch of young guys that can really go."
First-year coach Brett Brown implemented the up-tempo style with the Sixers because he did not have the personnel to excel in the half-court game. Brown is working to improve what has been a dismal defense.
The Sixers are ranked last in scoring defense at 111.5 points per game. Some of that was a byproduct of their pace.
"No good teams get through it by just outscoring people," he said. "That's not how anything good is built. In my opinion, you have to have a defensive mind-set to accomplish anything."
Brown doesn't want the Sixers to get tricked into thinking their world is generated by running. "It's not," he said. "It's generated by how well we defend. And there needs to be a belief. It needs to be admitted. And I think our guys ... understand that, too."
The Sixers are off until Wednesday's game at Denver. They will look to win consecutive games for the first time since starting the season, 3-0.
Contact and follow Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers.