Game Preview: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets


Philadelphia 76ers (0-3) vs. Houston Rockets (3-0)

Head coach of the Houston Rockets, Kevin McHale, has his team guarding the heck out of the ball and scoring with a high octane offense. The Houston Rockets (3-0, 1st in Southwest Division) have not started like this in nearly two decades. The Sixers are trying for their first win.

Shooting Guard James Harden and the Rockets are lighting it up offensively in Western Conference style to the tune of 105 points per game.

But reports that (12th Rocket coach in franchise history) McHale still wants more: “We have a lot of stuff to work on. The pace of our game is not where we want it, but we’re getting stops and we’re getting out and running,” McHale said after Saturday’s 104-90 win over the Boston Celtics.

The Sixers are likely to struggle. Houston thus far has not only outscored the opposition, they have defended as well. Their margin of victory is improved so far as compared to last season AND they get more stops. Tough combination.

More from Sixers News

I do not want to go into the pervasive folklore of the Philadelphia 76ers historic season (for losses, and not even 10 wins) in 1973 so let us erase that from our historical memory for now. What is relevant however is that the Sixers have lost games in the second half all three times thus far, and by an average of 14 points per contest.

Tony Wroten has been a steady performer, at least statistically, and has produced double figures in points and assists. Remember, the last time he played the Rockets he recorded a triple-double and made NBA history as the first player to record a trip-dub in their first NBA start. Still, the 76ers need ROY Michael Carter-Williams to get healthy and return.

Coach Brett Brown is keeping it real: “Forty-eight minutes is a very long game for the group we have.”

There is no question the Sixers are hitting the wall hard and playing for picks, but I believe it is not purely tanking for they are building and moving in a de-centered way. But you never know, last year, Houston found a way of losing to the less-than-20-win Sixers, albeit Harden-less.

Larry Brown’s comments regarding the “mind boggling” effort to lose “on purpose” is gaining steam but it is both mistaken and fabricated. They are trying to win and compete – it is just likely that the loss column will be extraordinarily high.

The only initiative taking place for Project Hinkie is improving for the future. Whether the 76ers are 0-82, 10-72, 20-62, or 30-52, the end results are the same: no playoffs and no title.

See: The Houston Rockets Depth Chart

See: The Philadelphia 76ers Depth Chart

Former Rocket Assistant Coach Dean Cooper (now a Developmental League coach for the Utah Jazz) helped to put in much of the screen-and roll-and-drag series for the HR. His work with Houston last year and Kevin McHale and John-Blair Bickerstaff in Minnesota, won the attention of Daryl Morey, and Sam Hinkie. If the Sixers show they can defend any of it all, it will be a step forward.

Game tips at 7 PM.