DENVER - After traveling to four cities over nine days, the Sixers are finally returning to Philadelphia with a win.
The Sixers dropped the first three games of their West Coast road trip to the Suns, Kings and Jazz. They bounced back with a 124-122 victory over the Nuggets on Friday, the second leg of consecutive games (see story).
"For us to end the road trip and go into the New Year is a feel-good win for the team," Brett Brown said.
The Sixers began their travels on Dec. 22 to Phoenix. They stayed there for Christmas Eve and spent Christmas Day in Sacramento ahead of their game against the Kings on Dec. 26. The Sixers moved on to Salt Lake City for three days, including the Dec. 29 matchup with the Jazz. The following day they concluded the swing in Denver.
During the first three games, the Sixers were left searching for answers in the second half. Their late-game struggles were magnified when they were outscored 30-9 in the fourth by the Jazz. When the Nuggets erased the Sixers 10-point lead to tie it up with less than a minute to go, the Sixers honed in on their previous losses and prevented a spoiler.
"It's great," Embiid said. "We talked about it this morning - we watched the whole fourth quarter from Utah. We've been having good third quarters and then the fourth quarter we just let in and the other team just comes and wins the game. Tonight that was a main emphasis. At the end of the third, that's what everybody was saying. Everybody was talking about it. We focused, we talked about it, and we got the win."
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The team pulled together in the end, only going nine-deep without Jahlil Okafor (hamstring), Sergio Rodriguez (ankle), Gerald Henderson (hip) and Richaun Holmes (concussion protocol). They snapped a four-game losing skid that dates back to a home loss against the Pelicans. The Sixers earned their eighth win of the season (8-24) and third victory on the road.
"A lot of credit to Coach Brown," Nerlens Noel said. "He made it a big point to really focus in on the fourth quarters and be able to close out a game on both sides of the floor. I think we definitely responded to that tonight and we were able to stay with the mental focus, gain good shots and come up with shots."
The Sixers will have a few days to settle back in at home before taking on the Timberwolves on Jan. 3 at the Wells Fargo Center.
"We look forward to regrouping, reloading, and jumping into 2017," Brown said.