In the Bonus | 03.13.18 vs Pacers

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

The following notes and nuggets were taken from the 76ers’ March 13th 101-98 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Click here for a complete recap of the game, and be sure to check out our post-game pod below:

Bonus Points:

• As aware as the Sixers were of the implications surrounding Tuesday’s game, and as stinging as the narrow loss was, the team, led by its head coach, tried to reconcile the outcome with a positive perspective. The group understood fully that turnovers, 21 of them in all, which led to 29 points for Indiana, again reared their ugly head in a key conference match-up. Yet, there the Sixers were, in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, presented with a legitimate chance to tie the score. As Brett Brown put it afterwards, for a young club like the Sixers, “It’s hard to expedite people’s birth certificates.”

“I look at [Tuesday’s loss] as something we will learn from, we will get better from,” Brown said. “The fact is, we haven’t been able to get through [fellow Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls] Miami, Washington, Milwaukee, and tonight Indiana. I think with each one of those games you learn a little bit about what we need to do to get better for the playoffs. We get in the playoffs, and I think there’s tremendous learning power out of these games.”

• Summoning up a potent finish, Joel Embiid was responsible for 29 points and 12 rebounds in Tuesday’s game. The outing marked his 25th 20-point, 10-rebound performance of the year. Prior to Embiid, only four other Sixers had produced that many 20-10 games in a single season: George McGinnis (2 times), Wilt Chamberlain (3 times), Moses Malone (4 times), and Charles Barkley (7 times).

• Against Indiana, the Sixers were on high alert for the threat posed by Victor Oladipo, and understandably so. The first-time All-Star has had a breakout campaign with Indiana, emerging as one of the NBA’s most prolific scorers, and proving to be a dependable shooter. Going into Tuesday’s contest, the Sixers’ built their strategy around giving Oladipo a steady dose of different coverages, especially in middle pick-and-roll. For the better part of the evening, the approach worked. Robert Covington served as Oladipo’s primary defender, with T.J. McConnell taking the baton in stretches when Covington was on the bench. There was plenty of switching going on, too, with the likes of JJ Redick, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Marco Belinelli, and Joel Embiid all pitching in. Oladipo missed each of his four shots in Tuesday’s opening quarter, and by halftime, was just 1 for 8 from the field with 2 points. For the night, the 2013 No. 2 pick finished 4 for 21, for 11 points.

• After Indiana jumped out to an early lead, Ben Simmons gave the Sixers a jolt. Starting with a pair of free throws at the seven-minute mark, the rookie proceeded to deposit a lay-up, followed moments later by a driving basket. Simmons’ streak of six straight points was the backbone of an 8-0 run that gave the Sixers a 14-9 advantage, which represented their largest lead of Tuesday’s game.

• By now, you’re probably seen plenty of info graphics that Tuesday brought with it Ben Simmons’ seventh triple-double of the season. He tacked on 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists, en route to tying Magic Johnson (1979-1980) for the second-highest rookie total of all-time.

As for where the seven triple-doubles places Simmons in the context of the Sixers’ statistical annals, he’s just the second player ever in team history to generate that many triple-doubles in a single-season. Wilt Chamberlain is the only other, doing it three times (9 in 1965-1966, 22 in 1966-1967, and 31 in 1967-1968).

• After falling behind by a game-high 12-point margin, 42-30, four minutes into Tuesday’s second quarter, the Sixers relied on the long ball to shoot themselves back into the game. Three straight scoring possessions ended in triples, which were supplied by Marco Belinelli, Dario Saric, and Robert Covington. In the second period, the Sixers went 6 for 12 from beyond the arc, while Indian was 0 for 6.

•  On the scoring front, Dario Saric did most of his damage in Tuesday’s second quarter, collecting 9 of his 18 points in the frame. He converted all two of his field goal attempts in the period, while going 4 for 6 from the free throw line. Saric came up big in the sequence below, grabbing an offensive rebound and setting up Ben Simmons for a basket that helped the Sixers keep the pressure on the Pacers.

• Via our unofficial count, JJ Redick has now hit a 3-pointer in the final three seconds of a quarter three times in the last four games, after sinking this heave as time was expiring in Tuesday’s first half.

• Sure, limiting turnovers has been a point of emphasis for the Sixers throughout the season. Sometimes, though, you’ve got to give a little bit of credit where it’s due. Indiana began Tuesday ranked third in the NBA in steals per 100 possessions, and later in the night, backed up its thieving prowess. The Pacers notched 13 steals at The Center, matching their fifth-highest total of the season. Victor Oladipo, the league leader in steals (2.2 spg), had two of them versus the Sixers.

A pick-and-pop 21-foot jump shot, followed shortly thereafter by the drawing of a charge? If there were ever a 39-second clip of action that could best capture the essence of Ersan Ilyasova’s two-way game, this sequence from Tuesday’s fourth quarter might be it.

• For the 23rd time this season, and third time in the last four games, all five Sixers’ starters finished in double-figures for scoring. The tallies went as follows: Ben Simmons 10 pts, Robert Covington 10 pts, JJ Redick 16 pts, Dario Saric 18 pts, Joel Embiid 29 pts.