|76ers put league-best home record on line vs. Nets|
The Philadelphia 76ers will be searching for their 26th victory in 28 home games when they host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
The Sixers also will be looking for their fourth win in a row.
Philadelphia entered the All-Star break with some momentum as they defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers to snap a four-game losing streak.
Despite a 9-19 record on the road, the Sixers continue to sparkle in Philadelphia, where they have the best home mark in the league.
"We love to compete and you see that from everybody on the floor," said Ben Simmons, one of the Sixers' two All-Stars along with Joel Embiid. "They (bench) love to come in and compete and hustle and make those plays and it's kind of just trickling down to everybody on the team. We're setting a standard for everybody and everyone has to hold themselves to that standard. If not, you're going to fall behind."
Before the win over the Clippers, Sixers head coach Brett Brown shook up his lineup by sending veteran Al Horford to the bench. Aside from four games as a rookie, it was the first time in Horford's storied career that he entered as a substitute. The result was a win over a championship-caliber team.
"I said that this starting group has been struggling and that he had done nothing wrong," Brown said of Horford. "I keep myself up late at night trying to find ways to better coach it and fix and let it co-exist. To date, after 50-plus games, we've struggled a little bit. I feel like I can help Al play at the level that he can play at and that we have seen.
"I think it can be a win-win. It was all class. He's a great teammate and he understood. It was a high-level adult conversation that I appreciate and respect."
The Nets won their final two games before the break but go to Philadelphia with a subpar 9-16 road record.
And they'll also be competing without star guard Kyrie Irving, who's out indefinitely after aggravating a right shoulder injury. Irving missed 26 games with this injury earlier this season has been sidelined for 33 of 53 games on the season.
"He's still having issues with his shoulder. He is going to see a specialist this week. That's about all I can tell you," Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said. "I don't expect him to be available for Thursday. His shoulder continues to bother him. That's kind of the extent of it for now."
Already without Kevin Durant, the Nets will have a daunting challenge without Irving to become just the third team to win at Philadelphia this season. But it's the only option they have - to simply play hard with their healthy players.
"Ky is one of the most positive people I've ever been around this whole process of me knowing him, meeting him since he signed. I'm sure it's just another testament to his book," Taurean Prince told the New York Post. "It's time for other guys to step up and be the players that they feel they want to be along with trying to help us win as many games as possible down the stretch."
--Field Level Media