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August 29, 2014, 10:17 pm

Schedule toughens for surging Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers will have a chance to show the NBA exactly how good they are this week. The Sixers will be playing some of the best teams in the league over the next nine days beginning Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls at Wells Fargo Center.

The Sixers will play six teams with winning records and five of those games will be at home. After they play the Bulls, the Sixers will battle the Miami Heat on Friday night, February 3 at Wells Fargo Center. Last season, the Sixers lost to the Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Miami cruised through the postseason, eventually losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

Immediately following the Heat, Philly will travel down to Atlanta to face the Hawks, a team they defeated two weeks ago, but still a formidable opponent. Then, they come home for a tough slate of games with the Los Angeles Lakers on February 6, San Antonio Spurs on February 8 and Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 10.

The Sixers lead the NBA’s Atlantic Division. The team doesn’t have anyone who averages 20 points a game but it does have balanced scoring with shooting guard Lou Williams (15.7 ppg) leading the way. Jrue Holiday, Sixers point guard, is averaging 14.7 points and 4.6 assists a game. Andre Iguodala has been playing a great all-around game tallying 12.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists a game. Evan Turner, Sixers second-year guard, has performed well off the bench, averaging 10.1 points a game. Thaddeus Young has run the floor and scored inside as well as outside while averaging 12.1 points a game. Up front, Elton Brand has been consistent averaging 10.9 points a game.

Despite their early season success, the Sixers will be challenged. They will be facing a number of stars coming this week and next week. The Bulls will bring in Derrick Rose, who won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award last year. Rose is averaging 22.9 points and 7.8 assists a game.

The Heat will showcase their big three with LeBron James (29.5 ppg, 7.0 apg), Chris Bosh (21.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Dwyane Wade (19.9 ppg). Miami is a major attraction. They are the NBA’s most talked about team, particularly with James, a huge candidate to win MVP.

The Sixers visit the Hawks. They will battle some terrific players such as Joe Johnson (18.6 ppg), Josh Smith (15.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Jeff Teague (13.0 ppg, 5.2 apg) in a big road game.

Kobe Bryant will make his annual appearance with the Lakers. Bryant is averaging 30.2 points, 5.6 assists and 1.2 steals a game. The Lakers also have a strong frontcourt with Pau Gasol (16.6 ppg) and Andrew Bynum (16.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg).

San Antonio comes in with power forward Tim Duncan, who at 35 still remains one of the league’s top players. Duncan is averaging 12.8 points and 7.6 rebounds a game. The 14-year NBA veteran can still play the game. Tony Parker, Spurs point guard, is averaging 17.3 points and 7.6 assists a game.

The Clippers will be in town with Blake Griffin, who is one of the most exciting players in the NBA. Griffin is averaging 21.0 points and 11.3 rebounds a game. Chris Paul, Clippers backcourt ace, is tallying 17.4 points and 8.5 assists a game.

The Sixers will be playing some outstanding teams. In addition, there should be some great crowds at all the games. For Sixers fans, this should be an exciting time.

 

Contact staff writer Donald Hunt at (215) 893-5719 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .