The 76ers ended the 2009-10 season as the NBA's worst team defending the three-point shot.
The Sixers allowed opponents to shoot 39.3 percent from beyond the arc, good for dead last in the 30-team NBA.
This season, the Sixers, entering Tuesday night's game, were holding opponents to 32.2 percent from three-point range, good for sixth-best in the league.
"We're relying on each other, which is big," said point guard Jrue Holiday. "I know if I get beat, then somebody will be over to help. . . . We're starting to play better together."
Holiday said the combination of himself, Jodie Meeks, and Andre Iguodala - all players with length and speed - makes it easy to switch among one another, giving their defense much-needed flexibility.
"We just weren't playing well on defense," Holiday said of the season's first few weeks. "We didn't trust each other, and now we do."
Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that entered the game having won the season's first two matchups.
"A big part of your defense is your big guys working in tandem with one another and with that guard - and communicating," said Sixers coach Doug Collins.
Collins pointed to his team's first two losses to the Cavaliers, a team that runs a slew of on-ball picks, as perfect examples of not communicating on pick-and-rolls.
Collins said Tuesday night's game would be won if the Sixers played improved defense on Cleveland's screening sequences.
Sixers rookie big man Craig Brackins has played three games for the Springfield Armor of the NBA's Development League. In those three games, Brackins averaged 20.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. Brackins is playing 36 minutes a game and shooting 50 percent from the field, 11.1 percent from three-point distance, and 80 percent from the line.
The Sixers are in the midst of a four-game homestand, finishing with games against the Boston Celtics on Thursday and New Orleans Hornets on Sunday.
- Kate Fagan