Taking Care Of Business, And The Ball

Don't be superstitious about the number 13 when it comes to turnovers.

"I think 13 is a good number (for us),'' Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. ''Any time you can keep it lower than that, obviously that's pretty good, but if you have 15-18 turnovers you're going to be in trouble.''

The Sixers kept their errors to 13 as they won in Toronto Wednesday night, but going in to tonight's game in Indianapolis they still have 36 more than the opponents through 8 games. They also have 32 fewer steals. Taking better care of the ball should translate into at least better chances to win.

Some other areas also need work: The Sixers have scored fewer than 90 points in 5 of 8 games, and have been outscored in the fourth quarter in 5. At the same time, they've been consistently strong on the glass, with 63 more rebounds than their opponents.

And while I'm perfectly aware that it's dangerous to look ahead (I can, they cannot), Oklahoma City--tomorrow night's opponent in the Wachovia Center--seems eminently beatable. The Thunder is 1-7, holding a 5-game losing streak going into tonight's game in New York; they've been down by at least 10 points in the first quarter 5 times, they're shooting 36.4 percent in the first quarter and they're last in in the NBA in field goal percentage at 40.0.

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