76ers hope to avoid season-high sixth straight loss vs. Rockets

Posted: January 12, 2013

To have watched the 76ers go 5-16 over their last 21 games is to have seen NBA basketball played as poorly as it has been played over the last month.

Going into Friday, only Charlotte, which ended a league-high 18-game losing streak on Dec. 31, had been worse over the same stretch, at 2-19. Both Cleveland and Washington had gone 5-16 over their last 21 games.

The owners of two five-game losing streaks in their last 16 games, the Sixers (15-22) will try to avert a season-high six-game losing streak Saturday when they host a Houston team (21-15) that destroyed them, 125-103, when they played on Dec. 19.

Winners of 12 of their last 16 games heading into their Friday game at Boston, the Rockets are the last team the offensively challenged Sixers need to be playing. Houston leads the league in scoring (106.0 points per game), though it will be playing the second game of a back-to-back.

The Sixers average just 92.2 points per game, 27th in the league. However, that number looks lovely when compared with some from their current losing streak. In their last five, the Sixers have averaged just 84.2 points. Their 90-72 loss at Toronto on Wednesday was their lowest offensive output of the season, and their five loses during this stretch have come by an average of more than 18 points.

General manager Tony DiLeo said Friday that while the Sixers continue to speak to every team in the league exploring trades, they remain committed to seeing what the team looks like when it has Andrew Bynum in the fold.

"We are still looking at Andrew as a long-term solution. We made the trade, and we built the team around it," DiLeo said. "We want to see how our players fit in with this team, how they fit in with him. So there are still a lot of questions, and we are still evaluating every player."

The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 21. Bynum, acquired in August, is still recovering from bone bruises and weakened cartilage in his knees. He has not played since May.

The Sixers held an optional practice Friday at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. The only player who did not attend was center Kwame Brown. Brown was excused for family reasons, and it is not known whether he will be with the team for Saturday's game.

Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com, or follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.

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