To say the Philadelphia 76ers were a lousy road team last season would be an understatement. Despite possessing the NBA's best home record, the Sixers were below average when playing away from home last year as they wrapped up the strange year with a 12-26 road record.
At the start of this season, it looked like they might've been headed down the same path. But first-year Sixers head coach Doc Rivers must've figured out a way to turn that all around. 47 games into the 2020-2021 NBA season, the Sixers have surpassed last year's win total on the road.
Currently, they are 13-11 away from home. Before last week, the 76ers were gearing up for a difficult six-game road trip, which included four matchups out West. Looking at it on paper with last year's team in mind, the trip seemed dreadful -- especially considering the Sixers' star center Joel Embiid is injured and out.
However, Doc Rivers' Sixers are a different animal this year. Philly started off the road trip 3-0 with wins over the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Then, they hit a tough two-game roadblock as they suffered losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets.
While both games certainly had disappointing moments, Doc Rivers didn't let the bad taste in his mouth cloud his judgment regarding the results of the road trip. No matter what happens in Thursday night's game in Cleveland, the Sixers will at least come out of the difficult stint .500 or above, which is a solid accomplishment.
“We have a chance to go plus-.500 on a road trip without, Joel, so that’s what we should be focused on,” Rivers said on Tuesday night after the loss to the Nuggets. “Not that we’ve lost two without Joel. We’re focused that we want three on this road trip, and we have one more to win, and we can have a positive road trip, so I think that’s where our focus will be.”
A win on Thursday night would have the Sixers coming out with a 4-2 record over the last six games. Then, they would head home for two games at the Wells Fargo Center and could possibly get Joel Embiid back in the mix at that point.
While the two losses against the Clippers and the Nuggets left many fans feeling discouraged, Doc Rivers refuses to allow two bad losses to overshadow what should be considered a successful trip.