INDIANAPOLIS -- By now, nothing is surprising when it comes to the 76ers.
They are expected to play hard, struggle after intermission, win a few games in a row, then go on losing streaks.
Those have been the constants this season. The constants are also the reason why the Sixers are 25-25 after Saturday's 100-92 road loss to the Indiana Pacers. It marked the Sixers' fourth loss in five games after winning nine of their previous 11, and their fourth straight setback on the road.
"It's been an up-and-down season for us," center Joel Embiid said. "A few time we had a (three)- or (four)-game win streak and then we go down and lose like four in a row, five in a row.
"We are just trying to find a balance and be consistent."
Being consistent has been hard for the Sixers unless you count second-half meltdowns and turning the ball over. Yet, their playoff aspirations remain intact. With 32 games remaining, they have a half-game lead over the Detroit Pistons for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot. The Sixers are also four games out of fourth place.
That's why they're not panicking.
"We are definitely still in the mix," Amir Johnson said. "We are still showing that we are one of the top teams."
The Sixers will look to take advantage of five straight home games leading up to the all-star break.
They host the Washington Wizards on Tuesday before facing the New Orleans Pelicans (Friday) and Los Angeles Clippers (Saturday) on back-to-back nights. Then the Sixers will entertain the New York Knicks (Feb. 12) and Miami Heat (Feb. 14) before the break.
The Wizards (30-22, fourth in the East), Pelicans (28-24, seventh in the West) and Heat (29-24, seventh, East) are all currently holding down playoff spots.
Meanwhile, the Clippers (26-25, ninth, West) and Knicks (23-31, 11th, East) are still in contention for postseason spots. So things should get interesting for the Sixers.
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