The Sixers were in their first match against the Hornets on October 27, battling defensively. Their 110.4 defensive rating took 17th place in the NBA.

Since then, the Sixers are 5: 2 with a defensive rating of 101.9 and ranked fourth in the league.

Sixers to Switches communication has improved significantly since the first five games. And outside the clubhouse Sunday night in Brooklyn, the team's defensive efforts were generally strong.

Robert Covington's outstanding two-way performance was crucial to the first match against Charlotte, a 105-103 Sixers win. Covington scored 18 points, including a three-pointer on the whole route. He also played an excellent defense against Kemba Walker, who scored 37 points but scored 11 for 31 off the ground.

For the 6-5 Hornets, Walker still hits a lot (20.5 per game, most in the NBA) and still scores a lot of points. He is the second in the NBA with 28.1 points per game.

• Dario Saric finally had the breakthrough the Sixers had been waiting for when they won the Pacers on Wednesday, the Sixers of the season's first street victory (see story),

The Sixers used Saric as the center for small bullets when Joel Embiid went to Indiana in Indiana. Mike Muscala had a broken nose and facial turmoil for at least a week, and with Amir Johnson, the only other traditional big man in the Sixers rotation next to Embiid, it would not be surprising if Brett Brown continued to shrink. Look for more lineups with Saric in the middle and Ben Simmons at the top. Wilson Chandler will probably also get minutes at the four minutes.

• Landry Shamets 21 three-pointers produced are the second most popular rookies. In his last four games, Shamet scored an average of 12 points and shot 55.2 percent. Yesterday we released a movie report about Shamet's impressive, mature game and its similarities with JJ Redick (see story),

Redick himself has not shot the ball well since the Sixers' first game against the Hornets – a total of 32.4 percent, 27.7 percent from the three-point area.

The following are the basics for the game on Friday night. The Sixers want to open the season with a seventh consecutive win at Wells Fargo Center.

When: 7 pm European summer time
From where: Wells Fargo Center
Transmission: NBC Sports Philadelphia (Pregame Live Starts at 18:30 EST)
Live broadcast: and the app MyTeams by NBC Sports

Jerryd Bayless, G, 6-3 / 210, No. 0
Jonah Bolden, F, 6-10, 220, No. 43
Wilson Chandler, F, 6-9 / 225, No. 22
Robert Covington, F, 6-9 / 225, No. 33
Joel Embiid, C, 7-0 / 260, No. 21
Markelle Fultz, G, 6-4 / 200, No. 20
* Demetrius Jackson, G, 6-1 / 200, No. 11
Amir Johnson, F / C, 6-9 / 240, No. 5
Furkan Korkmaz, G / F, 6-7 / 185, No. 30
T.J. McConnell, G, 6-2 / 190, No. 12
* Shake Milton, G, 6-6 / 205, No. 18
Mike Muscala, F / C, 6-11 / 240, No. 31
JJ Redick, G 6-4 / 195, No. 17 13
Dario Saric, F, 6-10 / 250, No. 9
Landry Shamet, G, 6-5 / 190, No. 23
Ben Simmons, G / F, 6-10 / 230, No. 25
Zhaire Smith, G, 6-4 / 200, No. 8

* Two-way player

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