Sixers-Trail Blazers 5 Things: Opening Up a Difficult Road Trip

The Sixers (23-40) kick off a four-game road trip against the Portland Trail Blazers (27-35) at Moda Center on Thursday night (10 p.m./TCN, and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. On the road again
Ready or not, here they come.

The banged-up and shorthanded Sixers are set to embark on a tough road trip. The trek includes stops in Portland, Los Angeles (against both the Clippers and Lakers) and Oakland.

That means games against the playoff-bound Clippers and Warriors with the opener vs. the Trail Blazers, who are just one game out of the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.

Overall, the Sixers are beginning a stretch of 11 games out of 14 on the road with clashes against some of the top teams in the entire league.

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"I look at it very clearly in my eyes," Brett Brown said before practice on Monday (see story). "The first thing that I'll tell everybody is bunker down -- fans, media, players. We've done this for four years. We completely understand what's around the corner."

2. Unleash the lion
What's also around the corner is more Justin Anderson.

The young swingman has been unleashed since being acquired from the Mavericks. In six games after the deal, Anderson is averaging 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 19.5 minutes.

Anderson is coming off a 19-point performance -- his second in the last three games -- in Monday's blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The 23-year-old shot 9 of 16 from the field but 0 of 6 from three-point range. His numbers from deep could determine his long-term stability with the Sixers (see story).

In the meantime, the Sixers will need similar offensive outputs from Anderson on this road swing. Plus, his high-energy defense will be put to the test against the likes of Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Chris Paul, D'Angelo Russell, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

3. Three for all
The Blazers aren't having any trouble shooting threes this season. Portland is tied for eighth in the NBA in three-point percentage at 36.9.

Somehow, the Blazers have been much better from long range during their current three-game win streak. They have drilled double-digit three-pointers in each game and connected on an incredible 50.6 percent from distance.

Allen Crabbe has led the way with eight treys over that span, while Lillard, McCollum and Al-Farouq Aminu each have seven.

4. Injuries
Gerald Henderson (hip) and Richaun Holmes (hamstring) are probable. Jahlil Okafor (knee) is questionable. Tiago Spillter (calf), Joel Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are all out.

Evan Turner (hand), Ed Davis (shoulder) and Festus Ezeli (knee) are out for the Trail Blazers.

5. This and that
• The Sixers are going for a season sweep of the Blazers after a 93-92 home win over them on Jan. 20.

• Center Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 14.9 points (54.9 percent shooting), 8.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks in seven games since being acquired by the Blazers at the trade deadline.

• Robert Covington has made at least two three-pointers in 10 straight games.

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