The Philadelphia 76ers went winless on their recent three-game road trip through Cleveland, Memphis and Houston.
They’ll look to get back on track when they host the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
The Sixers’ most recent loss, 132-123 in double overtime to the Rockets on Monday, was especially frustrating. James Harden returned after a 14-game absence with a strained tendon in his foot, but the Sixers couldn’t overcome the Rockets, who entered with a 6-17 record.
Harden had 21 points but shot 4 of 19 with seven turnovers. Joel Embiid led the way with 39 points and Tobias Harris added 27, but it wasn’t enough.
“We fouled the entire game. Just bad undisciplined fouls,” said a clearly frustrated Sixers coach Doc Rivers. “I don’t know how many times we fouled a 3-point shooter. I don’t know how many times you can foul a 3-point shooter in a game. Whatever it was, we did that. They looked us in the eye and us off the dribble the entire night. We were late to helps and, No. 1, we just got to stop getting beat the entire game.”
The Sixers have been without Tyrese Maxey for the last nine games with a fractured left foot. On Nov. 19, the timeline looked to be three to four weeks.
“Today (Wednesday) he ran,” Rivers said after practice Wednesday. “He’s still not jumping, though, which is a concern, but today he ran. He did not sprint, but he did run up and down the floor. He’s not been able to do that. I guess the only concerning thing is he’s not been able to jump yet so that would mean he’s a ways away, to say the least.”
The Lakers will aim to avoid a third straight setback after losing on consecutive nights to the Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.
To be fair, the Lakers fell 126-113 to the Raptors without LeBron James (left ankle) and Anthony Davis (non-COVID illness). They were also without Patrick Beverley (right knee) and Wenyen Gabriel (left shoulder).
And Juan Toscano-Anderson left in the fourth quarter with a sprained right ankle.
Gabriel and Toscano-Anderson will sit out Friday night.
“As disappointed as I am in losing the game, you know, you never like to lose, I’m not upset. I’m not distraught,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “We pulled it together and we competed like we should have done from the start.”
Dennis Schroder led the way with 18 points while Russell Westbrook and Thomas Bryant added 16 apiece. They overcame a lackluster first half and ate into a 27-point deficit down the stretch.
“Just play the right way — miss or make shots, just play the right way,” Westbrook said. “Compete. And then whatever happens after that, you live with the results.”
Ham reportedly gave a stern message to his team at halftime.
“The totality of our group and the totality of our franchise and program needs to be built on being competitive and being together at all times,” Ham said. “And I just felt that wasn’t the case in the first half. But I said what I had to say and left them to it.”
–Field Level Media