The Sixers (3-2) will try to snap their two-game skid when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers (2-3) on Friday night.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.
Here’s a closer look at the matchup:
1. Stop the bleeding
The Sixers’ defense has been gashed this season, particularly in the last two games.
The Sixers have allowed 108.4 points per game so far in 2013-14, dead last in the NBA. That number increased to 113 in double-digit losses this week.
They’ve especially struggled to contain teams from long range. The Sixers allowed 33 three-pointers combined against Golden State and Washington, including a Wells Fargo Center record-tying 18 to the Wizards.
With a defense focused on taking away the paint, teams have taken a league-high 30.2 three-pointers a game against the Sixers and connected on 12.2 of those attempts (40.4 percent).
2. Hey, he looks familiar
Andrew Bynum is expected to finally take the floor at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night. It just won’t be in a Sixers uniform.
You know the story by now. The Sixers surprisingly reach the Eastern Conference semis in 2011-12, trade away several assets for Bynum to put them over the top only for the big man to walk away with around $17 million after never suiting up for the franchise because of chronic knee issues.
Not that Bynum, now serving as a backup center with the Cavs, was broken up about the whole thing.
“I honestly don’t really care,” Bynum said about fans’ frustration with his lone season in Philadelphia and the reception he will receive on Friday.
While he admitted that he is “a shell” of himself and averaging just 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds a game this season (see story), Bynum will certainly draw quite the reaction when he checks into the game.
3. Stumbling at the start
The Sixers could begin getting back on track with better starts to games.
Outside of the season opener against Miami when they ripped off a 19-0 run at the outset, the Sixers have trailed each game this year by double digits at the end of the first quarter.
The Sixers have allowed 31.2 points per game in the first quarter this season. Take away the Heat’s lowly 14 points in the first period of the opener and that number increases to 35.5.
The Sixers simply can’t keep digging themselves such large holes at the start of games.
4. Turner’s time
Evan Turner is truly starting to blossom this season. The fourth-year swingman is averaging 22.2 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
Perhaps most impressive is Turner’s shot selection. He is slashing to the basket more than ever, evidenced by his 55.1 shooting percentage.
Turner’s plan to attack the basket has also shown by getting to the free throw line. He is averaging 5.6 attempts from the charity stripe per game, up from his career 2.0 freebies a night.
5. This and that
• Daniel Orton (knee) is day to day for the Sixers. Nerlens Noel (knee), Jason Richardson (knee), Kwame Brown (hamstring) and Arnett Moultrie (ankle) are out. Bynum (knees) is day to day for the Cavs.
• Kyrie Irving is averaging 18 points, seven assists and 5.4 rebounds per game this season. However, in four career games against the Sixers the All-Star point guard has averaged just 8.5 points and 3.8 turnovers along with 30.2 percent shooting.
• Turner has averaged just nine points per game in five matchups against the Cavs.
• Michael Carter-Williams is behind only Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio with three steals per game.
• The Cavs have lost six straight road games in their last four trips to Philadelphia.
• Spencer Hawes is tied for ninth in the league in rebounding at 11 per game.