76ers-Nuggets Preview

BY foxsports • March 22, 2016

Wednesday night represents one of the Philadelphia 76ers' best chances over the next two weeks to finally avoid ignominy and post a 10th victory.

The Denver Nuggets have a poor recent history at home against the 76ers, although they are in position for their first five-game win streak at Pepsi Center in two seasons.

Philadelphia (9-62) has lost six straight and 11 more defeats to end the season would result in matching the 1972-73 76ers for the worst record over an 82-game schedule. This is the only contest over the next six for Philadelphia against a losing team.

The 76ers have won four of their last five visits to Denver, including double-digit victories in each of the two previous seasons.

The problem is that besides the obvious point that Philadelphia is among the worst teams in NBA history, it is short-handed as well. Rookie star Jahlil Okafor is out for the season, third-leading scorer Robert Covington has missed six straight games with a concussion and Richaun Holmes has sat the last six with a right Achilles strain.

Those absences contributed to an anemic showing in Monday's 91-75 loss to Indiana in the opener of a four-game trip. Philadelphia shot 38.8 percent, with no one scoring more than 15 points.

''We have played four games in five nights, you come into it without Jahlil but the Covington, Richaun bodies, just that energy is a trick to manage,'' coach Brett Brown said.

Denver (29-42) will be eager to return home after capping a 1-4 trip with Monday's 124-91 loss to Cleveland. The Nuggets gave up 68 second-half points.

''It was embarrassing,'' coach Mike Malone said. ''An embarrassing effort. A very good team, obviously, a team that went to the finals, but I thought in the second half we quit. I haven't seen that from our team most of the year. I'm very disappointed with that. I did not like our effort, out focus, our intensity and our fight for 48 minutes.''

Will Barton scored 27 for Denver, which looks to recover at home where it is averaging 114.5 points during the four straight wins.

The Nuggets won't have too much sympathy for the 76ers' injury woes since top scorer Danilo Gallinari may not return this season due to two torn ligaments in his ankle. Forward Kenneth Faried has missed the last three games due to a nagging back injury while veteran guard Jameer Nelson has not played since January due to a sprained wrist.

Denver rallied from 11 down for a 108-105 win at Philadelphia on Dec. 5. That may not mean much for this one since Gallinari, Nelson, Faried, Covington and Holmes all played.

Jakarr Sampson will face the 76ers for the first time since joining Denver as a free agent Feb. 22, four days after he was waived by Philadelphia. Sampson, who has started the last 12 of his 15 games with the Nuggets, played 121 games with the Sixers since his rookie season in 2014-15.