PORTLAND, Ore. - 76ers coach Brett Brown breaks the NBA season into three segments.The first third is from the start of the season to Christmas. The second third began Friday and will run to the all-star break. The final third of the season runs from the all-star break to the end of the regular season.
After focusing on defense in the first third, Brown said the team's goal for the second third is offensive improvement.
"We are always going to try to pick on the areas that we are not so good at," said Brown, whose squad faced the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on Friday night. "When you look at it, we are amongst the last offensively in turnovers and field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage and three-point percentage.
"That's seems to be our Achilles' heel right now - more offensive things than defense things."
The Sixers were last in the league in three-point percentage (30.2), free-throw percentage (68.5) and turnovers (18 per game) as of Thursday. They were 29th in field-goal percentage (41.3).
Brown thinks better execution, better shot selection and having more awareness of the pass will help.
"Those are the areas, I think that are quite generic," he said. "But really, if you zoom in, we can help our offense with those focus points."
Malcolm Thomas always hoped to rejoin the Sixers once he regained his health.
"That was my thought process," said the power forward, who re-signed with the team on Tuesday. "They told me that they might want to bring me back. I wasn't sure. All the trades happened. So I was like '[Dang], I don't know.
"But it all came [together], and I was excited."
Thomas was waived on Nov. 10 while he was dealing with fluid in his left knee. At the time, it was believed his knee would require surgery that would sideline him for four weeks.
He said Friday that he had his left knee drained in New York before rehabbing for four weeks in Philly. Thomas, who flew with the team Thursday to Portland participated in Friday's shootaround. He was scheduled to play against the Blazers.
"I was excited to be back with everybody," Thomas said. "Some people didn't even know I was there, and I was on the plane with them."
Hollis Thompson missed his third consecutive game with an upper-respiratory infection. The shooting guard did attend the morning shootaround.
"He's still dealing with the virus," Brown said. "He's just weak, and we are not going to force anything."
Reserve point guard Tony Wroten had between 70 to 80 tickets for family members and friends to attend the game. The third-year guard is from Seattle.
Wroten spent Christmas in his hometown. He was scheduled to play Friday after missing Tuesday's game with a sprained right knee. . . . Furkan Aldemir was available to play after missing the last three games with plantar fasciitis.