The Philadelphia 76ers will have a tough stretch ahead where they play the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks within a week. Their toughest test will come Wednesday against the much-improved Rockets.
The Sixers will need to bring their “A” game if they’re going to compete against the Rockets. Houston, on the other hand, will not take the Sixers lightly considering their surprise wins against the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.
Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Michael Carter-Williams will have their hands full guarding the Rockets’ big three of Dwight Howard, James Harden and Jeremy Lin. Add Chandler Parsons, Omri Casspi and Omer Asik in the mix and this may be the most difficult opponent for the Sixers this season.
The Sixers’ perimeter defense must improve since they allow the third worst opponent three-point percentage, 42-percent. The Sixers will also need Hawes to play the paint because the Rockets allow the least amount of rebounds per game.
Coach Brett Brown must regroup the Sixers after dealing with a two-game losing streak. This could be a good way to boost morale with a win against the 5-3 Rockets, who dealt with a two-game losing streak recently at home.
The Rockets haven’t played as well but are still a dangerous team. Howard is averaging a double-double, Harden averages 24.9 points and 2.25 steals, and Lin averages 16.1 points and 54.5-percent from the field. All three will be tough to shut-down so Hawes, Turner and Carter-Williams will have to put up better stats.
One major key will be Carter-Williams, who nearly averages a double-double in all four wins. He will have to find a way to stop Lin if the Sixers are to win the game.