The Sixers won 12 games at home last year. When Doug Collins took over, that was the first stat he pulled out. He made it a priority for this team to protect their home floor. After last night's win over the Suns, the Sixers are playing .667 ball at home, but that doesn't even tell the whole story.
Consider this. In the first 20 days of the season, the Sixers played five home games. One win over Indiana and four losses to Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland and Toronto. A 1-4 start at home with two losses to sub-.500 teams.
Since that Toronto loss, the Sixers are 13-3 at the WFC. The three losses were a one-point game vs. the Celtics, a 12-point loss to the Lakers (which they led after three quarters), and a blip. The Pacers beat the Sixers in Iguodala's first game back from injury.
Of the 13 wins, the Sixers have beaten Chicago, Utah, Portland and New Orleans. All playoff teams. They also beat nine sub-.500 teams, including MIL twice, CHA twice, LAC and PHO.
Wins and losses are great, but as we've been reminded several times this season, the W/L record can be deceptive. So let's take a look at the team's home/road splits in all the advanced stats:
Those splits are absolutely amazing. Check out the differences here:
- Home OFR would be 10th in the league, away 28th.
- Home DFR would be 8th, away 21st.
- Home eFG would be 12th, away 28th.
- Home TO% would be 1st, away 6th.
- Home ORB% would be 21st, away 23rd.
- Home FTF would be 14th, away 20th.
- Home eFG allowed would be 3rd, away 14th.
- Home TO% forced would be 19th, away dead last.
- Home DRB% would be 8th, away 13th.
- Home FTF allowed would be 18th, away 26th.
- Home pace would be the slowest in the league, away 19th-fastest.
The most-dramatic difference here is the OFR/DFR differential. +6.7 at home. That would be fifth-best in the league. On the road, they're -6.2, good for third-worst in the league.
Obviously, we're comparing the Sixers splits to the averages for home and away for the rest of the teams in the league, which simply isn't fair. So let's take a more complete look. Below you'll find two charts. The first contains the raw splits for each team. Offensive Efficiency Rating (points scored per 100 possessions) at home and on the road, Defensive Efficiency Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) at home and on the road. Then differential (OFR - DFR) at home and on the road. Then spread. The lower the number, the worse a team plays on the road as compared to at home. The second chart ranks each team in each category, 1-30.
OK, so this is a more-accurate look at where the Sixers stand. Currently, they're the 10th-best team in the league at home (better than OKC, UTA and DAL) to name a few, and they're 19th on the road. Only two teams have a worse spread than the Sixers, Denver and Washington. Denver is very, very good at home and pretty much even with the Sixers on the road. Washington is atrocious on the road, and merely below average at home.
The Sixers have 20 games left at home, if they keep up this play on their own floor, you could expect a 13-7 or 14-6 record over those games. It's probably going to take that kind of effort, maybe more, to finish the season at or near .500.
Of course, the flip side of the coin is how dreadful they've been on the road. 18 games remain away from the friendly confines, and if they continue to play at the same level on the road, 5 wins would be a stretch.
If the Sixers are going to truly right the ship, they're going to have to keep up their excellent play at home and find some way to turn things around on the road. How likely are those two things to happen? Well, over their last 9 road games (2-7 record), they've only been outscored by 18 points. They've lost 5 of those games by 4 points or less. Yet again, we're back to the inability to finish.
I'm not 100% sold on OFR/DFR differential as the be-all-end-all measure of how good a team is, but it's the best we've got. If you want to poke holes in it, think about the disastrous effect the 45-point loss to the Bulls had on the Sixers road differential. Or the outrageous boost to home DFR the New Orleans win provided. When a team has played so many close games, the rare lopsided games can really skew the data.