Sixers' defense no match for Suns
The Sixers (8-21) will again attempt to snap their skid away from home when they continue their road trip against the Los Angeles Lakers (13-17) on Sunday night.
Tipoff is set for 9:30 p.m. (CSN) at Staples Center.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:
1. E-Z pass
The Sixers still appear to have no answers for their defensive struggles.
They allowed 115 points to Phoenix in Saturday’s loss to the Spurs and are giving up a league-worst 111.8 points per game.
Instead of being picked apart by three-pointers, the Sixers were done in on the low block by the Suns. The Sixers yielded 22 points and 13 rebounds to center Miles Plumlee, while letting the Suns score 58 points in the paint and 31 on the break.
“Defensively we just have a long way to go,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said (see story). “I feel like our transition defense in the first period was poor. I felt like Plumlee had a hell of a game. We needed to do a better job with our interior defense on him -- some individually, some as a group. I just didn’t feel like we made any steps forward defensively.”
Not only are opponents putting up high point totals against the Sixers, they are doing it in extremely efficient fashion, particularly on the road. The Sixers are allowing teams to shoot a robust 48.1 percent away from home.
2. Fill it up
With no end in sight for the Sixers’ woes on defense, they will stick with the plan of trying to outscore opponents.
That goal is certainly more attainable with Evan Turner in the lineup. Turner, the Sixers’ leading scorer with 19.3 points per game, sat out Saturday’s loss to the Suns because of soreness in his right knee (see story).
The swingman is expected to play against a depleted Lakers team and should join his teammates in finding plenty of room to operate on offense. While the Sixers are last in the NBA in opponents’ scoring, the Lakers aren’t that far behind. Los Angeles allows 103.4 points per game, which ranks 28th in the league.
The Lakers also give up per game averages of 47.5 points in the paint (28th), 14.7 second-chance points (27th) and 17.3 fast-break points (29th).
3. Some swagger
There will be a certain buzz in the building when the Lakers go to their bench and former Sixer Nick Young checks in.
Young played in 59 games for the Sixers last season and averaged 10.6 points a night. “Swaggy P” has definitely found a different gear playing for his hometown Lakers, averaging 15.9 points per game and picking up some of the slack for the injured Kobe Bryant.
Young has raised his game even more lately, putting up 20.9 points per in the Lakers’ last seven contests.
Young will absolutely be fired up to face his former team, which could lead to him posting a monster game or shooting L.A. right out of the game.
Turner (knee) is day to day and expected to take the floor against the Lakers.
Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are all out.
Centers Pau Gasol (illness) and Chris Kaman (ankle) are both game-time decisions for the Lakers.
Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (general soreness) and Steve Blake (elbow) are all out.
5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost 13 straight on the road after winning their first road game of the season.
• The Sixers have allowed every road opponent to reach at least 102 points in regulation except for one (Nov. 18, a 97-94 loss to Dallas).
• The Lakers are 7-7 at home this season.
• Young is 20 of 42 from three-point range in his last seven games.
• Thaddeus Young is averaging 20.4 points per game on the road this season. He averages 14.2 a game at home.
• Another former Sixer, Jodie Meeks, is averaging 12.9 points per game this season for the Lakers.