The Tip-Off: Sixers finally return home to host Thunder

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The misery is finally over. During their four game road trip, the Sixers looked horrendous. Poor spacing, poor shooting, and lack of effort all around caused a bump in the road for Philly. However, after dropping all four games of their road trip, the Philadelphia 76ers (23-14) are officially back home to their safe haven. Philadelphia hosts the Oklahoma City Thunder (20-15) at Wells Fargo Center.

Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. on ESPN. Radio coverage will be on 97.5 The Fanatic.

The Philadelphia 76ers are 7.5 point favorites with an over/under set at 213.

Home, Sweet Home

Ah, the seats of Wells Fargo Center will finally be full of die-hard Philadelphia fans. This could not have come soon enough for both the Sixers and the Flyers, who have been dismal on the road the past couple of weeks.

The Sixers have been terrific at home this season. Their 16-2 record in Philly is still sitting atop the best home records around the NBA. Overall, they average 111.3 points for while at home, while keeping their opponents to 101.5 points. Compare this to their road averages, and they score about four fewer points, but allow about eight more.

The crowd has a lot to contribute to that, as the Sixers have the fourth-highest attendance in the NBA (370,294).

Know Your Enemy:

Oklahoma City Thunder

Earlier in the season, the Thunder got the best of Philadelphia, topping them 127-119. Back in November, power forward Danilo Gallinari scored a season-high 28 points in the Thunder’s win. Chris Paul made his mark, scoring 27, while tagging along eight rebounds and five assists.

Leading the team in scoring, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander brings a ton of energy to the veteran lineup. Accompanied by NBA vets Chris Paul and Steven Adams, Alexander scores nearly 20 points a game, on average.

So far this season, OKC has been fairly poor on the road. They have an away record of 8-9, and score 10 less points on average away from Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Prediction:

The Sixers have been slumping, to say the least. They have had zero motivation or energy, and are starting to play the blame game. However, the last time they played at Wells Fargo Center was their thunderous (no pun intended) win over the Bucks on Christmas Day.

This is essentially a must-win for the Sixers. If Brett Brown does not want to lose his locker room, this game must be coached like a playoff game. No matter if OKC is a weaker team on paper, they have gone way above expectations this year, and not to mention they’ve already beaten the Sixers in 2019-2020.

Expect Philly to pull this one out in front of their home crowd en route to a much needed 114-98 victory.

Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

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