The Road Gets (Slightly) Easier

DENVER--With the Boston Celtics out of the way, the road gets easier for the 76ers, right?

Well, sort of.

There is, for example, the obligatory ray of hope. In this case, it's the belief that Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony will miss a third game in succession and not face the Sixers Friday night.

That's something, isn't it?

But here are some sobering numbers for the 12-16 Sixers to digest:

The remaining five opponents on the current trip--the Nuggets, the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Dallas Mavericks and the san Antonio Spurs--are a combined 77-64. Take the struggling Clippers out of the equation and the other four are 69-43.

Then there are the home court numbers: The same five teams are 42-30 at home, but excluding the 3-11 Clippers they're a more robust 39-19.

And the Nuggets will be rested. After last night's 101-92 loss in Portland, coach George Karl gave his players today and tomorrow off. The Sixers were scheduled to work out today in Philadelphia, then head West late tomorrow afternoon.

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