Friday, March 14, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Wells Fargo Center
Game Preview: Pacers at 76ers
Scott Agness | Updated: March 13, 2014, 3:30 p.m.
After just one game back in Indianapolis, the Pacers head back on the road for a pair of weekend games, beginning Friday night in Philadelphia. Friday's game is the second of three meetings between the Pacers and 76ers this year, the first being all the way back in late November.
The Pacers (47-17) ended a four-game skid Tuesday in a home win over Boston, but they all recognize it’s just a small step in the right direction. They’re still turning it over too frequently, and were outrebounded heavily in Tuesday's win. Indiana does have a favorable schedule to right the ship, with each of their next four opponents having losing records.
On Wednesday, Philadelphia opened a six-game stretch that includes five home games. Their lone road game over that stretch is in Indianapolis on March 17th.
The 76ers (15-49) are two losses away from having the league’s worst record. They’ve lost 18 straight games, dating back to Jan. 31, and are 3-28 over their last 31 contests. Their last victory, a 95-94 win on Jan. 29 in Boston, came on a buzzer-beating floater from Evan Turner, who was traded to the Pacers nine games later.
That’s why there’s some familiarity between these two teams. About a half-hour after the trade deadline on Feb. 20, news broke that the Pacers had traded a second-round pick and Danny Granger in exchange for fourth-year forward Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. That wasn’t Philly’s only move midseason.
As a team looking to the future, they made four trades in total prior to the deadline. In doing so, the 76ers picked up six second-round picks in total, plus Earl Clark and Henry Sims from the Cavaliers, Eric Maynor from the Wizards, Byron Mullens from the Clippers and Danny Granger, of course, from the Pacers. The 76ers then waived Clark and reached a buyout agreement with Granger, who later joined the Clippers.
One of the lone bright spots this season for the 76ers has been the play of Michael Carter-Williams, who they selected at No. 11 in June’s draft. The guard out of Syracuse leads all rookies in points (16.8), rebounds (5.6), assists (6.3), and steals (2.0). He’s had a strong rookie campaign, in part because he’s playing 34.4 minutes per game, which leads all first-year players.
As moves have been made, Thaddeus Young, who didn’t play in the Nov. 23 meeting with Pacers but leads the Sixers in scoring, has elevated his play. Since the trade deadline, he has averaged 20.1 points.
Andrew Bynum made his debut with the Pacers Tuesday night and performed well in the absence of Ian Mahinmi, who’s dealing with a bruised rib. Mahinmi’s missed two games this season, the other coincidentally being the Pacers’ last go-round with Philadelphia, though that was so Vogel could get a look at the Pacers' roster flexibility. If Mahinmi can’t go, Allen will get time with the second unit.
Although Bynum was on the 76ers’ roster last season, he never played in a game because of ongoing knee troubles. In fact, Turner said he practiced with them one time. Bynum sat out of practice on Thursday and will not play in Philly because of knee soreness. The team wants him to rest and get his swelling down so that he can play in Detroit the following night, where they’ll complete their 18th set of back-to-back games, against a frontline where they really need him.
Pacers: Andrew Bynum (out, knee), C.J. Watson (game-time decision, sprained right elbow), Ian Mahinmi (game-time decision, bruised left rib)
76ers: Lorenzo Brown (day-to-day, right foot soreness), Brandon Davies (out, fractured right small finger), Nerlens Noel (out, left knee injury)
“We still have a lot of work to do. We’ve got to get back to playing our style of basketball, being aggressive and playing with a little bit more confidence than we’re playing with right now.” – David West
“To me, I think it’s defense. Our offense has never been our focal point. It’s always been the defensive end. We’re allowing too many points.” – George Hill on whether their offense or defense needs more improvement
“I’m just going to try to treat it like another game. There’s nothing really to go into it about. I’m just going to treat it like another game, try to come out prepared and just play hard.” – Evan Turner on playing back in Philly
“I thought we had two good days of practice. We didn't do a lot of up and down work. We did a lot of detail-oriented fundamentals on both ends of the court.” – Frank Vogel on having a rare two days of practice
- The Pacers have won three of the previous four meetings with Philadelphia. They are 9-1 on Friday night games and 15-2 on the front end of a back-to-back.
- The 76ers have lost 20 of their last 22 home games, including 14 straight, the longest single season streak in franchise history.
- David West has been Indiana’s leading scorer in four of its past six games.
November 23: The short-handed 76ers had no answer for Roy Hibbert in the post, as he scored a team-high 27 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and rejected six shots in a 106-98 Pacers win in Indy. The 76ers played unusual lineups with Spencer Hawes, Troy Wroten, and Thaddeus Young all sidelined with injuries. Hibbert had two key blocks late that helped them fend off Philly.
The 76ers attempted 102 shots, making just 35, but they managed 31 second-chance points off of 23 offensive rebounds. All five Indiana starters finished in double figures, with Paul George responsible for 19 points and Lance Stephenson knocking down 8-of-11 shots for 18. Michael Carter-Williams led all scorers with 29 points and Evan Turner finished with 21 & 11 for his former team.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)