76ers open homestand with Rockets in town

The next month could get a bit easier for the slumping Philadelphia 76ers, who open a four-game homestand Saturday night versus the Houston Rockets at Wells Fargo Center.

The Sixers will play 12 of the next 13 games in front of the home crowd and just completed their 11th road game in 13 tries Wednesday in a 90-72 loss at Toronto. Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young ended with 16 points apiece, while Evan Turner tallied 10 points and seven boards for the 76ers, who have lost a season high-tying five straight games and are 3-13 in the past 16 games.

Turner is averaging 10.6 ppg in his previous 12.

"We just had nothing left," Sixers coach Doug Collins said.

Philadelphia has gone 5-16 since a promising 10-6 start to the season and defense has been an issue lately. Opponents are averaging 101.8 points per game in the past six and the Sixers have scored below 90 points in seven of the past eight games, averaging 87.3 ppg in that span. Philadelphia is 7-3 when scoring 100-plus points.

The 76ers are 9-8 as the host this season and have won eight of the past 13 games at Wells Fargo Center.

Houston has lost the first two tests of a three-game road trip and looks to salvage the swing against a slumping Sixers squad.

The Rockets had a five-game winning streak stopped Wednesday in New Orleans and dropped a 103-91 decision at Boston two nights later. James Harden paced the Rockets with 24 points and Chandler Parsons added 18 in defeat. The Rockets, who are now second in the NBA with 105.6 ppg, shot 43.8 percent and made just 9-of-33 3-pointers.

"That's the second game in a row where we haven't shot well, haven't moved it really well either," former Celtics great and current Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. "We had 22 assists, but when you miss a bunch of shots, you just don't get assists."

In the midst of playing nine of 11 games on the road, the Rockets, who are 7-10 outside of Space City, will return home for a battle with the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. They will then hit the road for four straight.

The Rockets and Sixers will close out their season series tonight, and Houston has the upper hand courtesy of a 125-103 victory on Dec. 19. Harden had a game-high 33 points to go along with seven assists in that one for the Rockets, who have still lost seven of the past 10 meetings between the teams.

Houston has won six of its last nine at Philadelphia.