The Sixers (25-16) last lost at the Wells Fargo Center on Dec. 20. Since then, they’ve gone 1-6 on the road.

Wednesday night, they’re home to face the 18-21 Brooklyn Nets.

Here are the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center 
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch: 

Irving sharp since his return 

Kyrie Irving is back after missing 26 games because of a right shoulder injury, and he’s totaled 53 points on 22 for 30 shooting (73.3 percent) and 15 assists in the two games since his return.

Without Irving, the Nets beat the Sixers by 20 points on Dec. 15 in Brooklyn, led by Spencer Dinwiddie’s 24 points. Joel Embiid was out that game because of an upper respiratory infection. He’s now sidelined after undergoing surgery Friday for a torn ligament in his left hand.

A strategic note to watch from that last meeting is Brooklyn played off Ben Simmons to an extreme, sometimes guarding him below the foul line while he was behind the arc. Simmons finished with 20 points, five rebounds and three assists. 

Halfway there 

Below are the Sixers’ records from the first 41 games over the past four seasons:

2016-17: 15-26
2017-18: 21-20
2018-19: 27-14
2019-20: 25-16

 

They of course had a 16-game winning streak to end the 2017-18 season, which enabled them to earn 52 wins and the No. 3 seed in the East. The February additions of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova were key in that run.

While this year’s team begins the second half with a better record than the 2017-18 team, it’s looking more and more like they’ll need that kind of impactful external help. They’re sixth in the Eastern Conference, 10.5 games behind the Bucks and 3.5 games behind the No. 2 seed Celtics. 

It’s hard to win like that … 

In their losses to the Mavs and Pacers, the Sixers shot 15 of 70 (21.4 percent) from three-point range. While they actually led both games by nine at halftime, it’s very difficult to win in the modern NBA with shooting performances that abysmal.

The Sixers also put themselves in a difficult spot by allowing Indiana and Dallas to attempt a combined 58 foul shots and taking just 29. They’re 24th this season in free throw attempts per game (21.6) and 20th in foul shots conceded (24.2). 

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