After falling apart in the fourth quarter Wednesday night for the second time in their past four games, the 7-4 Sixers are back in action Friday.
Here are the essentials for tonight’s game against the 4-7 Oklahoma City Thunder:
When: 8 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
‘It’s a little bit of everything’
After starting 5-0, the Sixers have lost four of their last six games. The two wins, at home against Charlotte and Cleveland, weren’t easy, either.
What’s gone wrong, outside of the obvious issues with shooting and turnovers, and the minimal time the regular starters have played together?
“It's a little bit of everything,” Ben Simmons told reporters Wednesday night. “There's some things that we definitely need to touch up that I'm sure we'll go back to the film and watch. But it's a long season.”
This is a winnable game for the Sixers, but it’s another one they could lose if they play a couple of rungs below their top level. Oklahoma City is 4-3 at home and has a fascinating backcourt of 34-year-old Chris Paul and 21-year-old Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, one of the players shipped to the Thunder in the Paul George trade. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 20.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his second NBA season.
Harris’ nasty slump
Tobias Harris is in a terrible slump, having missed his last 23 three-point attempts. He’s now shooting 20.4 percent from three-point range this season, second-worst among all players with at least 40 long range attempts.
Brett Brown wants Harris to shoot himself out of it (see story).
The situation is starting to resemble that of a No. 3 hitter who hasn’t picked up a hit in a week and desperately wants to just find a hole in the defense and feel what it’s like to stand on base again after making solid contact. Harris will have another chance to break out of it in Oklahoma City.
Some positive recent history
The Sixers won the last time they were in Oklahoma City, snapping a 19-game losing streak against the Thunder on Feb. 28.
Joel Embiid was out that night, but he’s expected to return tonight after sitting Wednesday (injury management/left knee soreness). Jonah Bolden, who actually started vs. the Thunder back in February and had 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting in the Sixers’ win, is on assignment with the Delaware Blue Coats.
Harris scored 32 points in that February game, his high as a Sixer.
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