The last time the 76ers won a road game it was January 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Staples Center. Tonight, the team returns to the Staples Center, only the opponent this time will be the Clippers.
The Clippers they will be facing will be agitated, as they lost at the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday after getting outscored 38-18 in the final quarter. Los Angeles will also be hurting as starting shooting guard Chauncey Billups pulled a groin in the second quarter of that Sacramento game and didn’t return. It is doubtful he will play tonight.
Still, the Clippers (46-22) have plenty of weapons, spearheaded by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, which will make it hard for the Sixers to break their 13-game road losing streak.
“I thought the last time that we played them they came at us with a force and an energy from the moment the game started and we were on our heels from moment one,” said coach Doug Collins of the Clippers 107-90 win on February 11. “Chris Paul got a steal and a layup to start the game. They had won the night before in New York, they were finishing up a road trip and they wanted to have a 4-4 road trip and I thought they played as well against us (as anyone). They shot the ball, they dunked the ball, they executed, their defense was tremendous. It will be interesting to see how we’ll match up against them tonight.”
The Sixers have been playing better basketball of late, having won 3 of their last 4 games. All of those were at home, however. Getting victories on the road has been nearly impossible.
“You can’t look back on the last time we won a road game being here,” said Thaddeus Young after the team’s morning shootaround at Staples. “You just have to go out and play. Obviously this is a different team that we’re playing. They like to get out in transition, get a lot of steals, catch a lot of lobs and just feed off that type of energy. If we can keep them from getting dunks and throwing up crazy numbers and three point shots and stuff like that, then I think we’ll be fine.”