Friday, December 14, 7:00 PM (EST) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
12-10 (4th Atlantic, 8th East)
11-11 (3rd Central, 9th East)
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
NOTE: The Comcast Network HD is now on XFinity® Channel 856
by Warren Croxton and Max Rappaport
Guard Jrue Holiday sat out the Sixers' Thursday morning's practice session with soreness of the longitudinal arch in his left foot. X-rays were taken and came back negative for a fracture. An MRI taken in the afternoon revealed a sprain.
The injury will cause Holiday to wear a walking boot, as the team travels to Indianapolis Thursday afternoon in advance of their Friday night meeting with the Pacers. He is a game-time decision for that game.
Should Holiday miss any time as a result of the injury, Collins said that he would likely start guard-forward Evan Turner at the point guard position, with guard Nick Young taking Turner's place on the wing.
Veteran Royal Ivey did not make the trip to Indianapolis, due to strep throat, leaving rookie Maalik Wayns as the team's only reserve point guard, should Holiday not play.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
F David West vs. F Thaddeus Young
Last season, David West’s first in Indiana, the 6-9 forward averaged just 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, his lowest totals since the 2004-05 season; his 48.7% field-goal percentage was his lowest in three seasons. Still, West provided veteran leadership to a young Pacers team that won its first round series with the Orlando Magic and gave the eventual-champion Heat in the Conference Semifinals, stealing a game in South Beach and going up 2-1 before losing three straight. This season, the former Hornet has bounced back in a big way, averaging 17.5 points and 8.6 rebounds a night, while shooting 50.3% from the floor. Part of the reason why the 10-year veteran has had a successful season is his shooting from inside ten feet. He’s shooting an impressive 61.7% from that distance, a vast improvement from the 52.2% he shot in last year’s lockout-shortened season. His 73.4% shooting efficiency
Thaddeus Young has scored double-digit points in each of his last 12 games. During that streak, he’s averaged 17.5 points (56.1 FG%), 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. The six-year veteran is four 10+ point games away from tying his career high of consecutive games with double-digit points. Part of the impetus for Young’s impressive play has been his ability to play off of the playmaking ability of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. The NBA average for %Ast (a stat that measures the percentage of a player’s field goals that are the result of assists) on shots from within ten feet of the rim is just under 50 percent. Young’s %Ast from those distances is 74.5% and is 88.2% from 3-9 feet, the latter of which ranks third among all players who play at least 25 minutes.
In four meetings with the Sixers last season, David West shot just 4-of-18 from 3-9 feet, with just one of those baskets coming off of an assist. Still, he averaged 19.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in games against Philly last season. He scored all but 18 of his 66 points off of field goals from inside three feet and outside 15 feet; he was assisted on 73.9% of those baskets.
Six-sentence Scouting Report
After beginning the season 2-6, the Frank Vogel-led Pacers have rebounded and now hold a .500 record (11-11). The Pacers are 6-3 at home and won their most-recent game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, a 96-81 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-81 on Wednesday. The Pacers rank 29th in the NBA in points scored, scoring just 91.0 a night. They have only scored 100 points three times, and in two of those games, the century mark was hit in overtime. Indiana ranks 21st in free-throw percentage (73.8%), 24th in three-point shooting (33.3%), and 28th in field-goal percentage (41.7%). Their second-ranked defense (91.3 points allowed per game) has kept them afloat, though.
The Vogel Effect
Frank Vogel took over the reins as head coach after Jim O’Brien was let go 44 games into the 2010-2011 season. In the final 28 games of that season, the Wildwood, NJ native went 20-18 and led the team to a playoff berth. During the Jim O’Brien era, the Pacers played a more up-tempo offensive style; one that put less emphasis on the defensive side of the ball and allowed opponents to average over 100 points a game from 2007-11. Vogel, a former Sixers assistant coach, guided last year’s Pacers team to a 42-24 record and held opponents to 94.4 points per game (10th in the league). This season, Vogel’s Pacers rank second in the league in points allowed (91.3 per game). Indiana’s defensive rating (a statistic that is an estimate of the ammount of points a team allows per 100 possessions) this season is 100.2, which is the second-best in franchise history.
The Pacers’ top scorer last season, Danny Granger, has yet to play this season, as he deals with patellar tendinosis in his left knee. The 6-8 swingman has led the team in scoring every year since 2007-08 season and ranks ninth all-time in points for the franchise. He is expected to return to action to return in February. Third-year man Paul George, who started at shooting guard last season, slid over to to Granger’s spot at small forward and is averaging 16.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game this season, all of which are career highs.
LAST TIME THEY MET
4/21/2012 – Sixers 109, Pacers 106 OT
Guard Jrue Holiday’s jumper with 31 seconds to go in overtime won the game for the Sixers, who moved within one game of securing a playoff berth. Holiday scored 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting, while dishing out seven assists. The Sixers had five players reach double figures in scoring, led by forward Elton Brand’s 20 points. The Sixers’ bench scored 45 points and grabbed 22 rebounds, as a unit. David West led all scorers with 32 points and 12 rebounds.