Before we get started, the most important photograph of the Philadelphia 76ers this season, presented to you without comment:
Last Time Out
Good lord, was the November 7 matchup between the Sixers and New Orleans hornets ugly. The Sixers had an offensive rating of 88.6, went 4-22 from three and had a 44.0 effective field goal percentage in that game, and were far and away the better team. While New Orleans was without Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, their performance was absolutely abysmal. The Hornets turned the ball over on a fifth of their possessions and managed only a 36.2 effective field goal percentage.
Slow It Down?
For a team that plays at such a slow pace, the Sixers don’t fare any better against similarly slow teams. For the season, they’re only 5-7 against teams in the bottom third of the league in pace, just below their overall winning percentage. This could pose a problem against the snail-like Hornets. New Orleans plays at the second slowest pace in the league, and also score the second-least points in the league. Philadelphia could be in luck, though - New Orleans is also struggling against slow teams (2-6 against the bottom third of the league), and likewise doesn’t fare well against low-scoring teams 2-5). The Sixers fit the bill in those categories, ranking in the bottom four in both.
Jrue Holiday had himself quite a game against Houston on Saturday, getting anywhere he wanted on the floor and going off for 30 points and nine assists. Holiday was most effective from two specific areas - in the paint and on the right wing. In fact, all 10 of his two-point field goals came from those two spots. That’s unusual for Holiday, as his shot distribution for the year is spread out all across the floor.
Most importantly for Holiday and for the Sixers going forward, he earned himself seven trips to the line against the Rockets, more than double his average attempts on the year. That aggressiveness will be crucial for the free throw starved Sixers going forward. For the year, the Sixers have a -4.8 free throw attempt differential with opponents, putting them toward the bottom of the league.