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- The slumping Sixers will be without leading scorer Jrue Holiday (sprained left foot) for the fourth consecutive game Wednesday, when they attempt to snap a four-game losing streak in Houston. Coach Doug Collins said he and the Philadelphia medical staff are not yet comfortable with allowing their young point guard to return to the court, as he continues to experience pain when planting his foot. “He told me that he was feeling better [today], and hopefully if all goes well, he’ll play Friday night,” Collins said. “I know Jrue wants to play more than anybody. He’s 22 years old, we have a huge investment in him … and there’s no way in the world right now we’re going to be short-term foolish.”
- A Sixers team spokesman said rookie point guard Maalik Wayns will make his first career start Wednesday with Holiday sidelined.
- Fresh off Monday’s impressive 109-96 rout of the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in which Jeremy Lin and James Harden combined for 50 points on 18-for-33 shooting, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, the Rockets and coach Kevin McHale have a renewed sense of confidence in their backcourt pairing. But McHale said Harden, Lin and their teammates all have a great deal of progress to make before they can expect the guard combination to produce consistent results. “Both guys have to … do stuff for each other out there,” McHale said. “It takes a little bit of time to get that kind of chemistry and symmetry to where it happens all the time. We know how we have to play. It’s a matter of are we going to play that way on a nightly basis.”
- In 13 of 25 games, Philadelphia’s opponent has made more free throws than the Sixers (12-13) have attempted. Houston (12-12), on the other hand, has earned at least eight more shots from the charity stripe than five of its last six opponents. “Our guys don’t center their game on slashing,” Collins said. “We have a lot of mid-range players. … We’ve just got to get more guys playing well and being aggressive at the same time.”
- Houston, winner of five consecutive home games against Eastern Conference competition, is 9-2 against the East this season. The Rockets are 26-4 at Toyota Center in December since 2008.
– Matt Miller