The Sixers (8-5) return to the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday to take on the Knicks (4-10) after a disappointing road trip.
Here are the essentials for tonight's game:
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers and their rivals in the NBA from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
Yes, the Sixers starting at 8-5 is disappointing, and with the amount of talent they have, they should be better.
But they've had a brutal schedule to start the season. Not necessarily in the team's they've played, but with the amount they've had to travel. If it feels like you've barely seen the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center, it's because that's the case. Just four of their first 13 games have been at home.
Wednesday's game is the start of 14 of their next 20 at home. Thought it's only been four games, the Sixers currently have the best defensive rating in the NBA at home. They still have other things to figure out, but this stretch should help.
At full strength
If the starting five is able to finish the game Wednesday, it will mark just the fifth time they've played together for an entire contest this season. It's a small sample size, but the Sixers' starting unit has the fifth-best net rating in the NBA among five-man lineups that have played at least 70 minutes together.
The players are far from a perfect fit together. The biggest issue seems to be Al Horford's fit. He's playing next to a center in Joel Embiid that the offense runs around. He's also playing with the most untraditional point guard in NBA history in Ben Simmons. With his experience and willingness to fit any role, Horford still has plenty of time to figure it out.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing over the past two games has been the performance of the team's other two starters – Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson. They've both shot the ball significantly better and more importantly are both looking more comfortable finding their spots on the floor. The pick-and-roll or two-man game with Embiid seems to have helped both players - when Embiid has rolled to the basket hard.
It was an odd strategy when the Knicks decided to sign ALL the power forwards this offseason. Fourteen games in, the strategy isn't any less head-scratching. Philly native Marcus Morris has played well, but New York is 4-10 and looking like they'll be watching ping pong ball this summer.
They do have young pieces that are intriguing. Though Knicks fans clamored for Zion Williamson, his Duke teammate, R.J. Barrett, has been excellent in his rookie campaign. The No. 3 overall pick is third on the team in scoring (15.8 points per game) and is shooting a surprising 37 percent from three.
But it seems head coach David Fizdale is more interested in playing the team's vets than giving time to high flyer Mitchell Robinson and second-year players Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier. To each their own.
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