LOS ANGELES — 76ers coach Brett Brown said his squad is ahead of schedule.
Wednesday night's 115-109 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers gave the Sixers (8-6) seven victories in nine games.
"We all guess and project and do the math," Brown said. "We're ahead of schedule. We knew this schedule was going to be difficult. We anticipated difficult things at the start."
But the Sixers are on their best start through 14 games since the 2012-13 season when they also went 8-6.
Aside from a slip up against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, the Sixers have been winning the games they were supposed to win. They added impressive upset road victories over the Detroit Pistons (Oct. 23) and Houston Rockets (Oct. 30). The Sixers even had a solid win without their best player, Joel Embiid, in Salt Lake City over the Utah Jazz (Nov. 7).
Embiid agreed with Brown about being ahead of schedule.
"I do feel that way," Embiid said. "Me personally, I'm still not there yet and we are still learning how to play with each other. … We are definitely ahead of the curve."
The center isn't in optimum playing shape due to missing time this summer following knee surgery.
The first 14 games of the season were expected to be one of the toughest stretches. In addition to facing several 2016-17 playoff qualifiers, 10 of the games were on the road. However, the Sixers will be two games above .500 with a victory over the Lakers.
"We got to win on the road," said Embiid, whose Sixers are 5-4 on the road. "If we want to be a playoff team, that's what we got to do.
"I think we have been doing a good job and we still have a lot to work on, especially with our turnovers and we got to be a little more efficient."
The Sixers ranked last in the NBA in turnovers at 17.8 per game.
Jerryd Bayless' quest to return this week from a left wrist contusion is in jeopardy.
The Sixers reserve combo guard missed his fifth consecutive game with the injury Wednesday. His last opportunity to play this week is Saturday against the Golden State Warriors at the Wells Fargo Center. Bayless was listed as doubtful for Wednesday's game on Tuesday. However, he was ruled out following Wednesday's morning shoot-around at Santa Monica High School.
As expected, Nik Stauskas (sprained right ankle) and Markelle Fultz (right shoulder scapular muscle imbalance and soreness) remain sidelined.