Sixers looking to stop slide against Thunder

The Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to snap a season-high four-game losing streak when they return home to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

After a convincing victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas, the Sixers were swept on a four-game road trip by the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets.

Despite a triple-double from Ben Simmons -- 29 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists -- the Sixers fell 118-108 on Friday at Houston. For much of the game, the Sixers' offense looked out of sync.

The 76ers expect a better effort at home, where they're 16-2.

"I think they're smart enough to know that we have talent in that room and that it's a good league," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. "Losing in Houston is no disgrace. Good days will add up. I think the character will prevail."

The Sixers, who began the season with championship aspirations, have dropped to fifth place in the Eastern Conference following the four-game skid. Philadelphia will enter this game with a 23-14 record while looking to answer a whole lot of questions about its struggles.

"We're frustrated, but we know we've got to get better," Simmons told Inquirer.com. "I think everybody, I believe everybody is on the same page with that. So we look forward to OKC. We've got to get that win."

"We have a lot of talent," Tobias Harris added. "But at the same time, we've got to figure out to mesh our talents together and make it work for the better good."

Guard James Ennis III, a key contributor off the bench, missed the game against the Rockets because of an illness. Ennis' availability is unclear for the game against the Thunder.

Oklahoma City is one of the hottest teams in the league as it sports a five-game winning streak, including taking nine of the last 10. With a win at Philadelphia, the Thunder can pull even at .500 at 9-9 on the road. On Saturday, the Thunder won handily at Cleveland, 121-106.

Against the Cavaliers, the balanced Thunder were led by Dennis Schroeder's 22 points and 20 from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. In addition, Danilo Gallinari added 19 with five 3-pointers while Steven Adams recorded 16 rebounds.

"The ability and talent of Chris (Paul), Shai and Dennis was the difference," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "They have the ability to get around -- and through -- coverage. They can find a way to get downhill and find a way to the basket."

The 34-year-old Paul has been the most consistent component for this young team while averaging 16.3 points, 6.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. When Paul was traded to the Thunder last summer, it looked as if his stint would be short. Now with the Thunder playing at such a high level, he may stay put for the rest of the season.

"The guys on the team just tell me I'm old, but I feel damn good, so I'm cool," Paul said. "I always try to stay in the moment, but I feel like I keep good perspective."

Thunder center Nerlens Noel suffered a sprained left ankle against the Cavaliers and had to leave the game early. Noel's status is unknown against the Sixers, his former team.

--Field Level Media
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