The Sixers return home from their three-game road trip to be greeted by a 47 win LA Clippers side who have become a real force in the Western conference. But is there an upset on the way?
The Sixers have had plenty of troubles with unforced errors this season. It’s a fault that seems to run through rosters with inexperienced players as they all desperately try to adjust to the pace of the NBA and the team they’re trying to learn the playbook from.
But recently it’s gone from bad to almost embarrassing. They turned the ball over 21 times in their one point loss to the Kings on Tuesday including the game losing turnover on the final possession. Things didn’t exactly improve against Denver. Despite taking the win, they still turned it over 17 times. Los Angeles forces 13.7 turnovers per game..that’s a huge number as it is and despite being ranked 14th in the NBA, it’s enough to send chills down the spines of every Sixers fan. If they bring that pressure tonight, the Sixers are in for a very bumpy ride.
Another deep threat is the sheer depth that the Clippers bring. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul seem to snatch all the headlines but there are five players on the roster who are averaging 10 points per game. DeAndre Jordan has exploded in recent games, posting seven double-doubles in nine of his last contests. Averaging 106 points per game, 2nd in the NBA, the Clippers will make the Sixers look like a college team if they cannot co-ordinate their defense properly tonight. S
ince the first 32 games of the season, the Sixers have reduced their number of points conceded per game by 8 points as it now stands at 96.9. Philly have actually held opponents under 90 in 45% of their last 11 games. It may not sound like much but it’s a statistic they only achieved twice all of last season. It’s a small silver lining underneath a storm cloud.
The Sixers come into the game bursting off of a two win streak. With Wroten and Embiid both out with injury, it’s leaving more and more work to the likes of Ish Smith and Nerlens Noel. Noel has become a defensive monster recently though. His progression has soared through the roof and he has emerged as a real defensive leader in his rookie season. He will face DeAndre Jordan tonight but Noel is a complete game changer. Having kept Cousins in his back pocket most recently, Noel continues to improve and turn heads wherever he plays. If he can go toe to toe with Jordan like he did with Cousins as opposed to relying on his finesse then we are in for a real treat.
The team have a little bit of momentum coming off of their last two wins and if they can challenge a team who are much better on paper, like they did against the Kings and the Hawks regardless of result then they can hold their heads high. Expect the Sixers to come out swinging and to attempt a lot of three pointers in what’s going to be a long range showdown.
Sixers 102-96 Clippers