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  • A matchup between the Rockets and 76ers in late March may not have a historic feel to it, but a pair of significant NBA achievements will be on the line when these clubs square off Thursday in Houston. Philadelphia (15-56), which has lost 25 consecutive contests, is one defeat shy of tying the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA-worst 26-game losing streak. The Rockets (48-22), who are 14-0 at home this season against Eastern Conference competition, will attempt to become the first team since the 2004-05 Dallas Mavericks to sweep their home games against the opposing conference. “I feel like as this [streak] has moved along and gained momentum I’ve tried to approach it quite consistently,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “I don’t talk about streaks. We don’t even mention it to [the players], and that’s my mission for them. I want them to continue to improve. I hope that they feel good about themselves. I don’t want anybody feeling sorry for us or hanging their head.”
  • Houston guard Patrick Beverley is battling flu-like symptoms, but he is expected to start. Rockets coach Kevin McHale said Beverley told him he is feeling well enough to log heavy minutes, but he will consider giving additional playing time to backup Jeremy Lin if the situation calls for it.
  • Though it seems like it occurred in the distant past to coaches and players on both sides, the Sixers actually knocked off the Rockets in their only meeting this season — 123-117 on Nov. 13, 2013 in Philadelphia. Brown’s roster for Thursday’s tilt will look a bit different, however, as three of the five Sixers who started in the previous meeting are either injured or no longer playing for Philadelphia. “They’re in the process of retooling,” McHale said. “They play pretty free. They shoot a lot of 3s. They get up and down. They’re not mailing [these games] in.”
  • Two of the league’s youngest teams will be on display in this game. In fact, Philadelphia features the NBA’s youngest roster with an average age of 23.7. At 24.7 years, Houston is hardly a group of grizzled veterans either. “This is something that, in a twisted way, is enjoyable in regards to watching the young guys get better,” Brown said. “Obviously, at times it’s hard going through it. … I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”

– Matt Miller

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