The Philadelphia 76ers are in the midst of a five-game, predominantly Western Conference road trip. After suffering losses at the hands of the Indiana Pacers and the Denver Nuggets in the first two games of the stretch, the Sixers found themselves in Portland for a matchup against the Blazers.
Portland hasn’t had much to celebrate this season as they are now in the first year of officially embracing a rebuild, but the team has a blend of talented youth and vets that cannot be overlooked. That was especially the case as the Sixers were once again without stars Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.
Once again shorthanded, the Sixers struggled to find any semblance of offensive consistency and were shot clear out of the building as the Blazers enjoyed a 130-104 victory at home.
Shooting struggles continue
The Sixers’ recent shooting struggles have been well-documented. While the absence of De’Anthony Melton, Tyrese Maxey, and Joel Embiid certainly contribute to it, as does Tobias Harris’ continued recovery, there is a clear need to address the team’s shooting woes in some manner.
Philadelphia only connected on five of the 29 threes they hoisted up on Monday night, and when compared to the Blazers’ 12 of 28 performance, it’s clear that was the primary difference between the two teams in this game.
That has not been uncommon for the Sixers as of late, who are averaging just five and a half made threes per game over their last five games.
The lack of three-point shooting has even been a consistent theme throughout the season, as the Sixers rank tied for the 26th fewest threes made per game. Part of that is understanding Philadelphia’s offense, as they run most everything through Joel Embiid, but the excessiveness of their lacking three-point production is a step further than it should be, particularly on the nights they play without Embiid.
As the NBA trade deadline approaches, the need for a volume shooter seems rather clear, though secondary to adding another shot creator. Ideally, the Sixers’ president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, is able to find a way to land a player who qualifies under both categories.
For now, Philadelphia has to focus on controlling what it can control and strive to regain some health heading into the All-Star break, which is suddenly just over two weeks away. As the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers continue their hot streaks, the Sixers must stop the bleeding, not only to hold their position in the east, but to continue to give them the hope of overtaking the Milwaukee Bucks for the second seed.
Up next for the Sixers
The Sixers are back at it tonight as they prepare to face off against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. There is no word yet on the availability of Joel Embiid or Tyrese Maxey, but the Sixers will certainly need the boost they provide on the second night of a West Coast back-to-back.
Tip-off is set for 10:00 pm ET, and you can catch the game on TNT or listen as always at 97.5 FM The Fanatic.