THERE REALLY IS no good time to have to endure an eight-game road trip, but there probably couldn't be a worse time for the 76ers (13-15) to have to march through it than right now. The team has lost six of its last seven games, including Sunday's 95-92 loss at Brooklyn. Now they will head out for seven games in 11 days against teams that were a combined 115-74 (.608 winning percentage) heading into Tuesday, including a 70-26 (.729) home record.
Sunday's defeat at the Nets was a typical road loss. The Sixers jumped out to a 12-4 lead to begin the game, only to witness Brooklyn reel off 18 straight points and eventually hold of a late Sixers surge.
"We aren't really a different team on the road than we are at home," coach Doug Collins said. "We play hard no matter where we are.
"The thing I don't like about our schedule is it's so imbalanced in that way, too many home games in a stretch or period of time, way too many road [games]. I don't like that kind of imbalance, and the reason I don't is if you lose a key player and you're at home and you lose four or five home games, that's tough to make up. And you can get yourself in a spin, and when you get in that spin, it is hard to get out."
"Hard" perfectly describes the task on which his team is about to embark. It all starts Wednesday at Memphis, which boasts a 12-2 record at FedEx Forum. Friday and Saturday, they'll go back-to-back against Golden State and Portland, two teams that both have won seven of their last 10 games. The Sixers will have a couple of days off before taking on the Lakers on New Year's Day, then play the next night in Phoenix (9-6 at home). They'll have a day off before another back-to-back, at Oklahoma City (14-2 at home) and San Antonio (10-2 at home).
Happy holidays, for sure.
The Sixers announced late Tuesday that Jason Richardson would miss the game Wednesday with a lower back strainJrue Holiday, in only his second game back after missing four with a sprained foot, scored 24 points against the Nets. He has scored 20 or more points nine times this season after doing so 10 times all of last season . . . Evan Turner has scored at least 15 points in seven of the past eight games. The only time he didn't do it was in Houston, when he left the game early in the second half after spraining an ankle . . . Center Spencer Hawes has averaged 12.4 points and 6.6 rebounds over the past 10 games. In the eight games before, he averaged only 5.4 points and 2.3 rebounds . . .
When this trip ends, the Sixers will play another back-to-back, hosting the Nets on Jan. 8, then playing at Toronto the next night . . . Thaddeus Young has posted a double-double in the past two games and has seven this season after doing it only once last season . . . Lavoy Allen has seven or more rebounds in each of the past three games, the longest such stretch of his career.
Hittin' the road
The Sixers' 95-92 loss at Brooklyn was the start of an eight-game road trip that will include a trip to the West Coast. Here is a look at the trip for the 13-15 Sixers:
Time: 8 p.m. TV: CSN
About the Grizzlies: Memphis is 18-7 and 12-2 at home. Rudy Gay is its leading scorer (18.2), followed by Zach Randolph (16.8). Wayne Ellington (Episcopal Academy) has played in all 25 games and is averaging 4.9 points.
Where: Golden State
Time: 10:30 TV: CSN
About the Warriors: Golden State is a strong 18-10. It has two 20-point scorers in Stephen Curry (20.2) and David Lee (20.0).
Time: 10:30 TV: TCN
About the Trail Blazers: The Blazers are 13-13. LaMarcus Aldridge averages 20.8 points and 8.0 rebounds.
When: Tuesday, Jan. 1
Where: Los Angeles Lakers
Time: 10:30 TV: CSN
About the Lakers: Kobe Bryant scored 34 points at the Wells Fargo Center on Dec. 16 in a 111-98 victory. The Lakers are 14-14.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 2
Time: 10 TV: CSN
About the Suns: Phoenix is 11-17 and struggling without Steve Nash. When you go to the Suns' website and the first thing you see is Dan Majerle, you are struggling. Thunder Dan hasn't played since 2002.
When: Friday, Jan. 4
Where: Oklahoma City
Time: 8 TV: CSN
About the Thunder: OKC is 21-5 after Tuesday's loss to the Miami Heat. The great Kevin Durant is averaging 27.9 points, followed by Russell Westbrook at 21.4.
When: Saturday, Jan. 5
Where: San Antonio
Time: 8:30 TV: CSN
About the Spurs: The under-the-radar Spurs are 21-8. Tony Parker is averaging 19 points and Tim Duncan is averaging more than 17.