Is the Wells Fargo Center turning into one of the NBA's toughest places to play?
We'll have a better answer after three of the league's winning teams - the Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, and Cleveland Cavaliers - play here later this week. We do know, however, that this has been the place where struggling ball clubs come to lose.
The 76ers defeated the Miami Heat, 101-94, Monday night to post their fourth consecutive home victory. Their other three victories came against the Indiana Pacers, the Washington Wizards, and the Phoenix Suns. The four teams have a combined record of 19-37.
The latest victory, however, marked the first time the Sixers (4-10) won back-to-back games overall since March 2015. They defeated the Detroit Pistons on March 18 and the New York Knicks on March 20 of that year.
"They were talking about that this morning at shootaround," said Gerald Henderson, a free-agent acquisition this summer. "I asked the guys if they won back-to-back games last year. There was a quick no. But hey, it's a new year, man."
Monday marked the long-awaited Sixers debut of free-agent acquisition Jerryd Bayless. The point guard finished with four points and five assists in 15 minutes, 27 seconds as a reserve. He had been sidelined with left wrist ligament damage since the first few days of training camp in September.
But as has been the case for much of the season, Joel Embiid was the Sixers standout. The rookie center finished with 22 points, five rebounds, and three blocked shots. The 7-foot-2, 276-pounder hit some big foul shots down the stretch as the Sixers snapped their two-game series losing streak to the Heat (4-9).
With the score tied at 91 with 3:38 left, the Sixers broke the game open with a 10-0 run. Embiid scored five of those points - all from the foul line. His last foul shot gave the Sixers a 101-91 lead with 39.1 seconds left.
"I always like to think that I'm clutch, so I made the free throws," said Embiid, who make 5 of 6 fouls shots down the stretch.
Sixers power forward Ersan Ilyasova (sore left foot) and Henderson (flu symptoms) were also clutch.
Henderson finished with a season-high 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including 3 for 3 on three-pointers. Ilyasova finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Miami's Hassan Whiteside finished with a game high 32 points to go with 13 rebounds and 2 blocks. South Philly's Dion Waiters added 19 points in the loss.
But this night was about Bayless' debut.
He entered the game at the 5:40 mark of the first quarter with his left wrist taped underneath a wristband. The point guard was more like a coach on the floor. He kept instructing teammates on where they should be. Bayless, however, did not initially use his left arm unless he had to.
The ninth-year veteran banged up the wrist while turning over the ball early in the second quarter. He was taken out of the game shortly afterward.
The 6-2, 210-pounder later fell to court while being fouled in the third quarter. He shook his wrist a little while lying on the court and again walking to the foul line. Bayless went on to make the foul shots to give the Sixers a 76-72 lead with 1:27 left in the quarter.
"I felt OK," Bayless said. "It's just that I haven't played. It's going to take a little bit to get back into a flow and rhythm."
This game was battle of wounded squads.
Miami was without Justise Winslow (sore left wrist), Wayne Ellington (right thigh contusion), Willie Reed (hyperextended right knee), and Chris Bosh (blood clots). The Sixers are still without Ben Simmons (right foot) and Nerlens Noel (left knee) after both had surgery.
Three and a half hours before facing the Heat, the Sixers reassigned rookie Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Delaware 87ers, their NBA Development League team.
The swingman finished with 14 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals in the Sevens' 116-111 victory over the Greensboro Swarm Monday night at the Bob Carpenter Center. He could rejoin the team on Tuesday.
Luwawu-Cabarrot has averaged 1.7 points and five minutes in nine appearances for the Sixers this season. He was the 24th overall pick in the draft in June.
"I think he has a real future," coach Brett Brown said. "I think [president of basketball operations] Bryan [Colangelo] did a hell of a job selecting him. The motivation is obvious with Delaware. We can get him games and it's right down the road.
"Ultimately, he needs to play basketball."