Last night's game against the Golden State Warriors kicked off a brutally tough seven game stretch for the Sixers that includes the Warriors, Suns, Nuggets, Bucks and Celtics. This sprint might not only determine whether the Sixers have a chance of capturing the 2nd seed in the East, but given that it includes games against fellow MVP contenders Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, it also may very well determine whether Joel Embiid brings home his first MVP trophy.
The Sixers' defensive struggles down the stretch of last night's 120-112 loss to the Warriors will be the focus of the second half of this week's Likes and Dislikes column. But before we get to that let's bring up one area where they've been surprisingly good of late...
Like: The Sixers are a good rebounding team?
A couple of weeks ago, while the Sixers were off during the All-Star break, I noted that the Sixers had a 19-1 record when they won the rebounding battle, but that they won that rebounding battle very infrequently (20 times out of 57 games) compared to other contenders.
Since returning from the All-Star break the Sixers have won the rebounding battle nine times out of 16 games, and have gone 7-2 in games where they have an edge in rebounding. That brings their season record when outrebounding their opponent to 26-3.
While they have improved on both ends of the floor, the most significant improvement has come on the defensive end, where the Sixers have collected 74.7% of their available defensive rebounds since the All-Star break, per NBA.com. That ranks as the 5th best rate in the league over that span, and is a drastic improvement over their pre-ASB numbers (71.4%, 18th).
|Pre-ASB||25.1% (26th)||71.4% (18th)||48.8% (25th)|
|Post-ASB||27.4% (16th)||74.7% (5th)||52.6% (4th)|
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