Record: 12-16 The last week: 2-1 A look at the last week

Lakers 106, Sixers 101, last Friday.

Even though

Kobe Bryant

shot 6 for 20, the Lakers outrebounded the Sixers by 47-37.

Sixers 99, Grizzlies 97, Saturday. Andre Iguodala scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner, a 20-footer at the buzzer over defender Mike Miller.

Sixers 96, Heat 85, Wednesday. The Sixers reserves outscored Miami's by 36-18.

Hot Sixer

In the last three games,

Andre Miller

averaged 20.6 points, 8.0 assists and 2.6 turnovers. He shot 25 for 44 from the field (56.8 percent). Miller has been the subject of trade rumors, and when he wasn't playing well early in the season, we advocated a trade. Now, unless the Sixers get true value, it wouldn't be the worst thing if Miller remained a Sixer.

Cold Sixer

Rebounding is

Reggie Evans'

forte, and he averaged only 5.6 rebounds in his last three games. To his credit, he hasn't missed a game, despite playing with a strained right shoulder suffered Nov. 28 against Utah.

Opponent of the week

The Lakers'

Andrew Bynum

scored a then-career-high 24 points (he eclipsed it with 28 in Tuesday's win over Phoenix). Bynum shot 10 for 11 against the Sixers and had 11 rebounds in 36 minutes.

Non-opponent of the week

The 76ers probably are happy they didn't sign

Darko Milicic

, who opted to go to Memphis as a free agent and has been inconsistent. In Saturday's loss to the Sixers, Milicic had two points and a rebound in a little less than 12 minutes.

Looking ahead

Tonight at Sacramento (11-16), 10.

The Kings shot 53.9 percent from the field in their 109-99 win at the Wachovia Center on Dec. 14.

Sunday at Portland (16-12), 6 p.m. The Sixers overcame a 25-point deficit to win, 92-88, on Nov. 16, but the Trail Blazers are riding an 11-game winning streak.

Monday at Seattle (8-20 entering last night's game vs. Boston), 10 p.m. After a 2-14 start, the Sonics are vastly improved.

Wednesday at Utah (16-14), 9 p.m. Though struggling, the Jazz are 10-2 at home.

First meeting

The Sixers will get their first up-close look at the SuperSonics'

Kevin Durant

in their New Year's Eve game in Seattle. Though Durant was averaging 20 points heading into last night's game against the Celtics, he was shooting just 40.5 percent from the field and averaging 3.18 turnovers, compared with 2.1 assists.


Here are a few minutes with Miami Heat guard




The three-time all-star scored 27 points in Wednesday's loss to the Sixers. Less than two years after winning the NBA crown, the Heat are 8-21.

Question: How difficult is it to go through this losing season?

Answer: It's tough to lose, period, but really tough to be the worst team in the Eastern Conference. You don't know from one night to the next what you will see.

Q: What do the Heat need to do to turn things around?

A: I wish I knew that, because it would have been turned around by now. I don't have answers.

Q: Is there enough time to turn it around?

A: As a player, I will say yes, but only time will tell.

Positive developments


Bench scoring.

In the last three games, the Sixers' reserves outscored their opponents by 97-50.

2. Iguodala's defense. While Iguodala has had up-and-down offensive games, his defense has been good.

3. Free-throw shooting. The Sixers shot 57 for 75 (76 percent) in the last three games. After a terrible start, they are shooting 72 percent from the foul line.

Areas that need work

1. Putting the foot down.

When the Sixers have a big lead, they have to learn how to kick a team that is down. They had a 31-point lead that shrank to 10 in a win over Houston. On Wednesday against Miami, a 21-point lead faded to three before a 9-0 run put the game away.

2. Interior defense. In the last three games, the Sixers were outscored in the paint by 142-120.

3. Transition game. The Sixers averaged just 12 fastbreak points, scoring 36, in the last three games. By comparison, they had 35 in a 92-86 win at Cleveland on Dec. 15.

Did you know?

The Sixers are 5-7 on the road but have yet to score a road win over a team that now has a winning record. Four of the six teams on this trip - Portland, Utah, the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver - have winning records.

So close

The Sixers have shot 999 for 2,229 (44.8 percent) from the field. Their opponents have shot 1,000 for 2,229 (44.9 percent).

The last word

So much of the trip will depend on how the Sixers fare in the opening game tonight at Sacramento. "You want to win that first one on a long road trip to get off to a good start," Iguodala said.

Sacramento and Seattle are the only teams on this six-game trip with losing records. So it's crucial for the Sixers to jump on the Kings, coming off Wednesday's 89-69 home loss to Boston.