After playing nine of their first 13 games on the road, the Philadelphia 76ers will now reap the benefits of being at home for 13 of the next 18 starting with a visit from the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
The Sixers won just four of the nine road games, though they finished a brief three-game trip with a 114-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
Philadelphia is a perfect 4-0 at home.
“How can that not be fantastic?” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said of having a chunk of home games on the horizon. “In Philadelphia, there is a uniqueness about that building and the fans.”
Sixers point guard Ben Simmons had 10 points and 11 assists in the win at Cleveland, but the All-Star has been hesitant to shoot, as evidenced by not attempting a 3-pointer all season. In fact, Simmons has taken just two shots all season from 16 feet or beyond.
“But, you know, that is him,” center Joel Embiid told Inquirer.com of Simmons’ lack of shooting. “He is comfortable playing certain ways. For us to win, we are going to need him to shoot. But, you know, I am fine with him playing his game, not forcing anything. But hopefully, at some point, I am sure he is going to pick it up.”
Forward Tobias Harris has picked up his game since suffering through a recent 0-for-23 slump from beyond the 3-point arc. Harris led the Sixers with 27 points and knocked down 12 of 14 shots in the win over the Cavaliers.
The Knicks, meanwhile, have been mired in controversy since rumors started floating about the status of head coach David Fizdale’s job.
New York has won only four of 14 games and has gone 1-6 on the road.
On Monday, the Knicks played a rare stellar game from the opening tip to the final buzzer in a 123-105 victory over the Cavaliers. Julius Randle scored 30 points while Marcus Morris added 23 and RJ Barrett had 15.
Amazingly, no member of the Knicks has reached double figures in assists this season.
The Knicks had to be encouraged with Randle’s effort as he scored 23 of the 30 points in the first half and showed flashes of why he had been considered a standout player when he entered the league.
“You got to see what he looked like when he’s locked in,” Fizdale said.
Randle committed just one turnover against Cleveland and appears to be improving at a rate the Knicks expected when they signed him.
“They’re loading up on me and I’m attacking it a little different than I did in the past,” Randle told the New York Post.
“I played with different players like AD (Anthony Davis). We had so many pieces out there. We have pieces here, too, but I’m saying it was different. I’ve played in LA where I was a key, so I got to continue to work and figure it out and find my spots this year because the defense is working on me more than in the past.”
The Knicks also had 54 points in the paint against Cleveland, but the challenge will be much more difficult against Philadelphia with Embiid and Al Horford.
–Field Level Media