Sixers finish long road trip tonight

Jodie Meeks and the Sixers will try to finish their season-long road trip with a win over the Hornets. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Following their home game on December 17th against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sixers boarded a plane for a game the next night in Orlando and haven't been home since. Tonight they end the season-long eight game road trip when they take on the New Orleans Hornets.

So far on the trip, the Sixers have gone 3-4, including two four-point losses to the Boston Celtics and the Lakers. It has been a successful road trip thus far, despite a 45-point loss in Chicago.

The Sixers had to play two games without reserve guard Lou Williams, who was back in Philadelphia for the birth of his first child. They also have been without starting swingman Andre Iguodala, who has missed the past three games and will miss at least the next four with right Achilles tendonitis. They've gotten very solid play from point guard Jru Holiday and rookie Evan Turner recently.

A win tonight and the Sixers would finish the trip with a .500 mark and give them a big boost as they head into a stretch when five of their next six games will be at home. Here are some keys for the Sixers tonight:

*Protect the basketball. Hornets guard Chris Paul is on a stealing binge, as he's gotten 13 his past two games.

*Crash the boards. New Orleans is a very good rebounding team, having been outrebounded in just two of their last 11 games. The Sixers want to get out and run, which is impossible if you don't rebound.

*Follow the lead of Holiday. No one has been playing better recently for the Sixers than Holiday. They'll need another strong effort from him, if only to offset what Paul will do.

*Stay focused. Not being home for so long, no doubt the players will be anxious to board that plane after the game. It will be a much better plane ride if it's done after a win.

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