Sixers coach Brett Brown was concerned about his team's first game at home after a long road trip. He said as much before and after Saturday's 124-116 loss to the Warriors.
It is widely considered a trap game to come home after a large amount of time on the road. The team is happy to be in front of the home crowd; the surroundings, routine, and arena are all familiar. The thought is, you get comfortable and fatigue sets in, then the other team is ready to pounce.
"I do always worry, because I've been doing this for a while now. History says I'm almost right, that you come back from these road trips and these West Coast road trips, they're dangerous," Brown said before Saturday's game, the first after a five-game road trip. "In general, these types of games worry me for historical reasons. There's many examples where I think I'd be right."
But looking back at Brown's time in the NBA, his assessment isn't accurate.
When Brown was an assistant coach with San Antonio, the Spurs went 12-4 on the first game back after a road trip of four or more games in his nine seasons with the Spurs.
The thinking then might be that because the Spurs have been a great team for years, of course, they would win more games. But his time with the Sixers, who posted a 75-253 record through his first four season as head coach, has also been more successful than not on the first game back after long road trips, going 6-5.
Additionally, in the 2015-6 season, when the Sixers finished with an abysmal 10-72 record, the team's first and fourth wins of the season came on homecoming games after long road trips.
The more reasonable explanation for the Sixers' loss against the Warriors is that, for the second time in one week, they played the defending NBA champs, a team that has played in the last three Finals' series, winning two of them.
Golden State is used to being hit in the mouth. The Warriors know that they will get every team's best shot and that teams will come out strong. They remain calm, and are ready to strike back.
"We were in a great mood when we came out [after halftime], and that showed with our play and our enthusiasm," the Warriors' Kevin Durant said after the game.
The Sixers have three more long road trips this season, and three more chances to come home from those trips and take care of business — Jan. 3 against the Spurs after a five-game trip, Feb. 2 against Miami after a four-game trip, and March 13 against Indiana after another four games on the road.
If history is any indication, the Sixers are likely to win at least two of the remaining homecoming games.