The 76ers credit an unselfish brotherhood as the reason for their success.
“I feel like everybody in this organization, this locker room, is ready for that next man up mentality,” Montrezl Harrell said following Wednesday’s shootaround. “I mean, everybody said that at the beginning of the season, including us, the whole organization: it’s not a ‘me season.’ It’s a ‘we season.’ So literally, we just bought into the team we want to be.”
Executing that, the Sixers took the Eastern Conference’s second-best record (30-16) into Wednesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Wells Fargo Center. They have also won five straight games and 18 of their last 22.
They’ve accomplished all of this while fighting off injuries and starting 16 different lineups.
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The Sixers were 11-3 when starting Tobias Harris, P. J. Tucker, Joel Embiid, De’Anthony Melton and James Harden. They were 3-1 with Melton, Harris, Tucker, Jarden and Tyrese Maxey started. The Sixers were also 3-1 with Harris, Tucker, Harrell, Melton and Shake Milton, and 2-0 with Harris, Tucker, Embiid, Maxey and Matisse Thybulle.
The Sixers’ season-opening lineup of Harris, Tucker, Embiid, Melton and Maxey is among the few lineups that haven’t been successful. The team went 3-5 with that group. However, six of those games came at the beginning of the season with the Sixers’ new-look roster trying to find a rhythm.
Based on their success, it’s hard to imagine that Doc Rivers inherited a woeful road team before the start of the 2020-21 season. Now at 13-9, the Sixers have the NBA’s third-best road record.
They also have the longest active road winning streak at seven games, which began with a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 31 and extends through Saturday’s win against the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings victory enabled the Sixers to sweep a five-game road trip, the first time they have done so on a trip of five games or more since going 6-0 on the road from Dec. 25, 1984 to Jan. 5, 1985.
The Sixers’ seven straight road wins in total are tied for the fifth-longest streak in team history.
Following Wednesday’s game, the Sixers will have three games at home before heading on the road to face the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 3. That will begin a three-game road trip with stops against the New York Knicks (Feb. 5) and Boston Celtics (Feb. 8).