Despite losses, the Sixers showed resilience on the road
The Sixers (5-7) return home from their three-game road trip to face a division opponent for the first time this season when the Toronto Raptors come to town on Wednesday.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:
1. Diving into the division
The Sixers are coming off a winless three-game road trip in which they lost by an average of 16.6 points. They’re also allowing a league-worst 109.9 points per game, and starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams is ailing with a bruised arch in his left foot.
Ready for the good news? The Sixers are still leading the miserable Atlantic Division.
The Atlantic is the only division in the entire NBA that doesn’t have at least one team with a .500 record. Coming into Wednesday, the Sixers are the only Atlantic team with a winning mark against other Eastern Conference opponents, at 4-3. Also, each of the five teams in the Atlantic have currently lost at least two games in a row.
While the Sixers have been reeling lately, this could be just the right time to open up division play against a Raptors team they have beaten in seven of the last nine meetings.
2. They’re free for a reason
Simply playing against other struggling teams won’t be enough for the Sixers. They will have to help themselves on the court and they can start at the free throw line.
While the Sixers are in the middle of the pack in both free throws attempted and free throw makes per game, they rank 23rd in percentage from the charity stripe at 71.1.
That number dropped during their recent road trip when they made 52 of 76 freebies (68.4 percent). A main contributor to that mark was guard Tony Wroten, who was 3 of 9 from the line in Monday’s loss to the Mavs. He is shooting just 55.3 percent on free throws this season.
“As hard as I try not to, it is in my head,” Wroten said after the loss to the Mavs. “I work so hard and they trust me to make free throws. But missing six free throws is unacceptable.”
The Sixers will need to improve their mark from the free throw line to make teams pay for fouling.
3. Watch the wings
The Sixers will have their hands full slowing down Toronto’s perimeter pair of Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan.
While the Raptors rank 20th in the league in scoring at 96.9 points per game, Gay and DeRozan are prolific putting the ball in the net individually. Gay and DeRozan are averaging 20.6 and 20.5 points per game this season, respectively.
DeRozan has especially been on a tear in recent games. The 6-foot-7 guard scored 29 points in the Raptors’ loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday after tying his career high with 37 points against a defensive-minded Chicago Bulls team last Friday.
Gay had 30 points in that loss to the Blazers and appears to have found his rhythm after being traded to the Raptors at the deadline last season.
Carter-Williams (foot) is day to day. He has missed the Sixers’ last four games.
Big men Nerlens Noel (knee), Kwame Brown (hamstring), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and guard Jason Richardson are out.
Toronto forward Quincy Acy (ankle) is day to day and listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game.
5. This and that
• Evan Turner has averaged 8.2 points on 35 percent shooting in 11 career games against the Raptors.
• The Raptors are second in the league in offensive rebounding with 14.0 a game.
• The Sixers are averaging 4.4 fourth-quarter turnovers. They are averaging 17.3 giveaways a game, 24th in the NBA.