The Sixers have four straight road wins and a shot at tying franchise history if they keep rolling away from home.
The most road victories a Sixers team has ever earned in a season is the 1982-83 championship squad’s 30. The 2021-22 Sixers are currently 25-11 away from home with five road games left. Notably, the 1966-67 Sixers might have passed 30 road wins if their schedule didn’t include neutral site games.
On Sunday, the Sixers will face a team that already has 30 road and 30 home wins. Here are the essentials for their game against the Suns:
- When: 6 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m.
- Where: Footprint Center
- broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app
And here are storylines to watch:
Two top seeds
The Suns don’t need any more regular-season victories. At 60-14, they’ve clinched the No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs.
Somewhat improbably, the Sixers will also begin Sunday’s action first in the standings. They had not led the Eastern Conference since November, but a second consecutive top seed is now clearly a possibility. After losing Monday to the shorthanded Sixers, the Heat have fallen to the Warriors, Knicks and Nets.
While Phoenix will play whichever team emerges as the eighth seed out of the West’s play-in tournament, the Sixers’ first-round opponent is still highly uncertain. The first through fourth seeds in the East are all within a half-game of each other.
Hoping to cool down scorching offense
During their seven-game winning streak, the Suns scored 125 or more points in every outing.
The first six of those wins came without Chris Paul, who returned Thursday after missing 15 games with a thumb injury and posted 17 points and 13 assists against the Nuggets.
His backcourt mate also didn’t have a shabby night; Devin Booker scored a season-high 49 points and dished out 10 assists. As is true whenever the Sixers draw an elite perimeter scorer, Matisse Thybulle should be on the job. Thybulle mostly guarded Booker well when the Sixers played Phoenix in February, but the three-time All-Star still put up 35 points on 11-for-23 shooting in a comeback Suns win.
Cameron Johnson (right quad contusion) has been sidelined throughout the Suns’ winning streak and remains out. Backup center JaVale McGee was ruled out for Sunday’s game because of a non-COVID illness.
Will Harden hit the gas again?
It’s not advisable (or even possible) for every single player to be in ceaseless attack mode.
James Harden, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, and the All-Star guard’s teammates have all been consistent, though: They want Harden to seek more scoring opportunities and worry less about setting up others.
Harden’s first-half performance Friday night left everyone pleased. In the first 24 minutes of the game, Harden took eight three-pointers and nine free throws. He had 25 points and 11 rebounds at intermission and the Sixers were well on their way to a blowout win over the Clippers.
There’s nothing wrong with Harden shifting gears and adapting his approach to the situation. But, while his health is the obvious top priority, it would also be nice for the Sixers to see further evidence that he still has a tremendous top level as an aggressive scorer.
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