76ers Struggling to Get to the Free-Throw Line - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

76ers Struggling to Get to the Free-Throw Line

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In the aftermath of their sixth consecutive road loss on Sunday, the 76ers complained about the lack of respect they say they get from referees.

Why, the Sixers asked again, don't the referees blow their whistles and give the 76ers free throws as often as they do for their opponents?

But there are two sides to every story.

The Sixers (13-15), who begin an 11-day, seven-game Western Conference road trip Wednesday in Memphis, so far seem to prefer to stand outside and shoot jump shots rather than attack the basket and absorb the hard hits that prompt officials to call fouls.

"We just keep talking to them about the 'moment of truth,' " said Sixers coach Doug Collins, who gave the players Christmas Eve off. "At the moment of truth, just go in there and get hit. We had the ball in the paint 48 times [Sunday]. We've got to just get in there and find a way."

Of the 30 teams in the NBA, only Orlando, with an average of 16.5, attempts fewer free throws per game than the Sixers, who average 18.0. It's not surprising that none of the four teams ranked at the bottom of the list has a winning record.

Against Brooklyn on Sunday, the Sixers attempted just two free throws in the first half. For the game, won by Brooklyn, 95-92, the Nets attempted 20 more free throws than the Sixers.

Teams getting to the line significantly more than the Sixers have become more of an issue as the season progresses. Earlier in the season, Collins said that he wanted players such as Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner to initiate contact rather than avoid it.

But that is not happening.

Last week at Houston, for instance, Thaddeus Young was the only starter to attempt a free throw in a 125-103 loss. Conversely, Houston's James Harden, a player who initiates contact as often as anyone in the league, was 17 of 18 from the line.

Through Sunday, Harden, who averages 10 trips to the foul line per game, had attempted 250 free throws. Holiday, Turner, and Young, the team's three leading scorers, have attempted just 243 combined.

"We just have to try, any way possible, to get to the free-throw line more," Holiday said. "Any way we can."

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