Home court advantage is a very real thing for the Sixers. They are 12-0 at home this season, outscoring opponents by 13 points per contest. Recent wins have included Indiana, Utah, and Toronto, although the win against the Raptors was much closer than it should have been.
The team’s record underscores why they are under so much scrutiny. Playing at home gives them a huge competitive advantage, and while there is some merit to pacing themselves in the regular season to be ready for the playoffs, getting more home games seems like an important goal.
Road Games are Another Story
Being unbeatable at home is good, but only if you can occasionally win on the road. The Sixers do, but when they lose it can get extremely ugly. Case in point; a perplexing, sloppy loss to the lowly Washington Wizards last week. Simmons and Embiid combined for 15 of the team’s 21 turnovers. Tobias Harris, one of the few players to perform well in that game, didn’t mince words when asked about the team’s performance
“There is a high expectations for our group, for our team. There are expectations to win on the road, at home. Just come out every night and play to win and to win a game. Tonight, big frustration just on how we defended because it was like they were just picking and choosing whatever they wanted, so that is the big frustration,” Harris said after the game. “We have to get better at when we get a lead in the game, of being able to stick with what is working, and maybe push that lead to go to the next level. It is something that we have to get better at.”
Team Survives Brutal Schedule
On the topic of conference seeding, November was a very eventful month for the Sixers and all things considered, they did well for themselves. They played 16 games total in 29 days, including 3 sets of back to backs. Overall they went 10-6. Not the best record, but considering the density of the schedule it’s a success. Plus, their losses shouldn’t impact their playoff seeding to a meaningful degree. 4 of the 6 losses to were Western Conference teams. There are problems to address, but they should be thankful that their early mistakes haven’t buried them very far down the standings.
Right now they’re only 3.5 behind Milwaukee and within a half game of Boston and Miami. There’s plenty of time and head to head matchups to vault ahead.
Harris finds a groove
Speaking of Harris, he has overcome a slow start and really settled into a reliable scoring role. After two consecutive poor games against Cleveland and Orlando on Nov. 12th and 13th, Harris has scored at least 14 points in nine straight games, and he’s averaging 20.
Simmons Taking Next Step on Defense
Simmons hasn’t impressed on offense in the way that fans hoped before the season. But he deserves a lot of credit for being an absolute menace on defense. Take for example, his performance against the Indiana Pacers last week. He made two crucial steals in the final minute to secure the victory.
Simmons now leads the league in steals per game with 2.3.
Richardson absence concerning
Richardson has now missed six straight games. It’s a shame too, because he had two of his best games of the season prior to getting hurt. He left the game versus Sacramento on Nov. 27th with hamstring soreness and hasn’t played since.
An Edict from the Coach
Simmons hit another three pointer against Cleveland on Saturday. After the game, Brown declared that he wanted Simmonst to at least attempt one per game.
“I want a 3-point shot a game, minimum,” Brown said. “I’m fine with whatever is open. But I’m interested in the 3-point shot…That’s the world that interests me the most.”
In the next game Simmons attempted…. zero threes.
All statistics via NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com