The Philadelphia 76ers closed 2021 with three consecutive road victories.
The Sixers will look for their fourth straight win when they host the Houston Rockets on Monday night.
Philadelphia most recently earned a 110-102 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday without head coach Doc Rivers, who entered the league’s health and safety protocol. Assistant coaches Sam Cassell and Brian Adams also were out.
Assistant coach Dan Burke led the way and likely will be filling in again against the Rockets.
“I’m just happy for those guys,” Burke said after the win over the Nets. “We’ve got four days or so before we play again. To get this win, build this momentum, and I don’t know what the protocols are gonna allow practice-wise, but this is something that I think we can all look at and say, ‘We’re better when we’re like this vs. this’ and this is stronger and we just gotta build that.
“That’s what Doc has been building up to.”
Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid continued his stellar play with 34 points and tenacious defense throughout the game. Embiid cited Burke for the team’s defensive prowess.
“He’s been great for our defense and just as a voice,” Embiid said. “He’s been in the NBA for a long time. We’re extremely happy for him.”
The Sixers also have received impressive recent performances from second-year guard Tyrese Maxey, who had five 3-pointers and 25 points against the Nets.
“Tyrese is not afraid, and that’s huge,” Burke said. “He’s got a big heart and a lot of guts, and he’s coming along.”
The Rockets hope to avoid an eighth consecutive loss when they visit the Sixers.
The Rockets most recently fell 124-111 to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.
Houston’s Christian Wood was held out of the starting lineup after violating an unspecified team rule, while Kevin Porter Jr. injured his thigh and didn’t return in the second half. Porter also reportedly had a verbal spat with assistant coach John Lucas at halftime.
In addition, Eric Gordon (groin), D.J. Augustin, DeJon Jarreau and Garrison Mathews (health and safety protocol) sat out.
“Were a young team. We’ve got a lot to learn, a lot to figure out,” Jalen Green said.
“I just want to answer basketball questions, game questions,” Jae’Sean Tate added after the loss to the Nuggets. “What goes on in the locker room with the team is between the team. We’re a family, and sometimes family business doesn’t need to be put out there.”
During the skid, the Rockets have been wildly inconsistent on defense. For instance, they allowed 47 points in the second quarter alone to the Nuggets. That was too much to overcome.
“Defense in general is just about communication. We as a team, as a group, haven’t done a good job in the last couple of games at all,” Daniel Theis said. “We give up layups, fast breaks, turn the ball over, and we just got to get back to playing hard on defense and communicate.”
–Field Level Media