by Kyle Sullivan
The Sixers are back in action Thursday when they take on the Houston Rockets to finish up their three-game road trip. Philadelphia is looking to snap a 25-game losing streak, while the Rockets are hoping to notch their fifth straight win. The last time these two teams met, back on November 13, the Sixers walked away with a 123-117 overtime win.
Matchup to Watch
PG: Patrick Beverley vs. Michael Carter-Williams
In the last meeting between these two teams, Patrick Beverly had 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and five assists, while Michael Carter-Williams sat out with a left foot arch bruise. Over Houston’s four-game winning streak, Beverly is averaging 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. In Carter-Williams’ last four games, Carter-Williams is putting up 15.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game.
Carter-Williams will look to his height and length (6’6”) to contain Beverly, who measures in at 6’1”. The five-inch advantage could help Philadelphia in the turnover department, where they rank first in the league with 17.1 forced per game. Houston is second in the league in turnovers allowed per game, giving the ball up 16.3 times a contest.
Can He Do it Again?
When the Sixers and Rockets last faced one another in November, James Anderson was the hero as he hit a game-tying three-point shot with 6.6 seconds left on the clock to help the Sixers force overtime against Houston and eventually win the game. Not only did he hit that big shot, but he also contributed 36 points on 12-of-16 shooting, including 6-of-8 from behind the arc on the night.
The Beard Makes the Man
In his last game against the Bobcats, Rockets guard James Harden logged almost 40 minutes of floor time and put up 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Over Houston’s last four games. Harden is averaging 27.8 points, 7.3 assists, and 3.0 boards. In the three consecutive losses that preceded the streak, Harden was averaging 22.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. In Rockets wins this season, he averages 4.8 more points (26.5) then when than in losses (21.7). Thursday’s game will be Harden’s first against the Sixers this season, as he missed their only other meeting this season (November 13).
The Final Stretch
The Sixers have 11 games remaining in the 2013-14 season: four at home and seven on the road. The team has reiterated a commitment to developing young talent. The team signed point guard Casper Ware to a 10-day contract earlier in the week, making him the fifth player on the current roster added on or after February 20. One of those five is center Henry Sims, who is looking to finish out the 2013-14 season on a high note. Since his first career double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) against the Kings on March 12, the 24-year-old is averaging 10.9 points and 8.9 rebounds a game; he’s had two more double-doubles against New York (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Chicago (18 points, 15 rebounds) during that stretch.
|Category||Sixers (15-56)||Rockets (48-22)|
|PPG||Thaddeus Young – 18.0||James Harden – 24.9|
|RPG||Henry Sims – 7.0||Dwight Howard – 12.3|
|APG||Michael Carter-Williams – 6.2||James Harden – 5.7|
|SPG||Thaddeus Young – 2.2||James Harden – 1.5|
|BPG||Jarvis Varnado – 0.8||Dwight Howard – 1.8|