Stuck in the middle of a tough road trip, the Philadelphia 76ers have got to be pining for home. Despite wins over the Lakers and Grizzlies, the Sixers have dropped winnable games at the Nets, Warriors, Blazers and Suns. The main issue in those losses has been the same thing that’s plagued Philadelphia for much of the season: scoring the basketball. That doesn’t bode well for the Sixers going into a game against the super-charged offense of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
When these teams played in November, neither team could slow the other down. The Sixers actually outshot OKC, netting a 53.3 effective field goal percentage against the Thunder’s 47.7. The problem for Philadelphia was keeping their opponent off the free throw line. The Thunder ended up shooting .364 free throws per field goal attempt to the Sixers’ measly .132, in all totaling 20 more free throw attempts.
It’s not likely that the Sixers will be able to limit Oklahoma City’s trips to the foul line - the Thunder are second in the league in free throws attempted, and feature free throw (and scoring) machines Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Those two shoot a combined 15.5 free throws per game, nearly as many as the Sixers’ 17.9.
Despite doing plenty of damage in the paint, the Sixers leading scorers do very little to get to the line. Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young all take at least 25 percent of their shots in the restricted area (Young is actually over 50 percent), yet none of them shoots more than Holiday’s 3.5 free throws per game.