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Game Rewind: Pacers 122, 76ers 131

Recap

The Pacers hosted the Philadelphia 76ers for their final home game of the season at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Although the Sixers arrived as advertised, this scrappy Blue & Gold squad gave it their all on Fan Appreciation Night. After falling behind by as many as 27, Indiana battled back to come within four points of the lead. However, Joel Embiid and company stopped the comeback short, and the visitors came away with a 131-122 win.

The Sixers (49-30) scored 82 first-half points – 49 in the second quarter – and shot 57.5 percent (23-of-40) from beyond the arc to keep Indiana at bay. Tyrese Maxey (30 points, seven assists) tallied a career-high eight triples, including seven in the first half. But, it was Embiid who appeared the most unstoppable. The MVP candidate dropped 45 points on 18-of-30 shooting and hauled in 13 rebounds to help seal the win.

Meanwhile, seven Pacers (25-55) finished in double figures, with the former Sacramento duo leading the way again. Buddy Hield finished with a double-double, recording a team-high 25 points and 11 boards, and Tyrese Haliburton added 21 points, eight boards, and five assists. Jalen Smith led the bench with 19 points, and Isaiah Jackson posted 16 points and four blocks in a starting role. Additionally, T.J. McConnell finally made his long-awaited return after being sidelined since December with a wrist injury.

“Other than the second quarter, we had a lot of good things happening,” Rick Carlisle said. “Quarters one, three, and four were pretty solid and more aligned with what we wanted to do to these guys.”

For the first time in a while, the Pacers earned the upper hand early in the first quarter. Hield scored five of a 7-0 Indiana run that grabbed a 9-3 lead in the first two minutes of action.

Over the next few minutes, the Pacers continued to play tough. When the Sixers knotted the score at nine, Terry Taylor, Haliburton, and Smith fearlessly attacked the paint to keep Indiana on top. Smith then broke another tie at the 6:44 mark with a long jumper from the left side.

The game continued to be a back-and-forth affair as time ticked down. The Sixers used Embiid to create a 24-20 advantage. But, Indiana swiftly earned back the edge with seven straight. Hield supplied a 26-foot triple at the 3:20 mark to force a Philadelphia timeout.

With 5.2 seconds left, Haliburton pushed the Pacers ahead 31-30 with a driving layup. Unfortunately, Embiid responded with a lucky last-second three that banked in off the backboard.

Haliburton started the second hot, scoring five quick points to tie the game at 36. But, a pair of Shake Milton treys and an alley-oop to DeAndre Jordan gave the Sixers a 44-36 edge with 9:05 remaining.

The Blue & Gold cut the deficit to three with 7:12 remaining. But, Philadelphia responded with an 11-0 spree – eight from Embiid – to stretch its lead to double digits (60-46) with 4:46 to play.

Although Lance Stephenson provided a few buckets for the fans, the Sixers found answers beyond the arc. Maxey knocked in three triples in a 1:16 span to help Philadelphia capture a 71-53 advantage with 3:15 left. Soon after, the second-year guard knocked down his seventh trey at the 2:35 mark to give the Sixers a 74-55 edge. Philadelphia led 82-59 at halftime.

Embiid came out firing early in the third quarter, adding five to help the Sixers earn a 27-point advantage. However, Indiana made a dent in the deficit soon after.

Trailing 90-63, the Blue & Gold mounted a 10-2 run – six from Hield – to cut the gap to 92-73 with 7:20 remaining. The spree forced Sixers coach Doc Rivers to stop play with a timeout.

Despite the break, the Pacers continued their surge. Trailing 97-76, Indiana rattled off eight unanswered points – five from Haliburton – to trim the deficit to 14 with 5:22 left. Rivers had to call a second timeout to slow Indiana’s momentum.

Indiana shaved one more point off its deficit over the next few minutes. However, Philadelphia appeared to find its footing. Embiid, Maxey, and Georges Niang all contributed to pushing the Sixers’ advantage to 107-90 with 1:52 remaining.

Yet, the Pacers kept charging. The hosts blanked Philadelphia for the rest of the frame and scored nine unanswered to trim the margin to 107-99 heading into the final frame. Indiana outscored Philadelphia 40-25 in the frame.

Threes from Duane Washington Jr. and Smith helped Indiana cut Philadelphia’s lead down to 111-105 with 9:40 left. From there, Washington stayed hot. After a Flagrant-2 foul sent Jordan to the locker room, Washington tacked on a pair of free throws to cut the gap to five. When Milton responded, the sharpshooter added a baseline trey to give the game a 113-109 score with 8:53 remaining.

However, Philadelphia abruptly halted the comeback with eight unanswered – four from Embiid – to regain a 121-109 edge with 6:54 left. After Rick Carlisle called a timeout, Maxey hit his eighth triple to make it an 11-0 run.

Indiana tried one more time to pull off the upset. The squad responded with six straight, including an easy alley-oop to Jackson, to trim the deficit to 124-115 with 3:31 to play. They came within nine one more time. But unfortunately, it was too little, too late. Philadelphia closed out the game without much of a problem from there.

Inside the Numbers

Terry Taylor (13 points), Duane Washington Jr. (12), and Lance Stephenson (10) also finished in double digits for the Pacers tonight.

Indiana committed 17 turnovers which turned into 30 points for Philadelphia

The 76ers outscored the Pacers 49-28 in the second quarter. But, Indiana outscored Philadelphia 40-25 in the third.

You Can Quote Me On That

“Our fans have been great all year. Through an unusual season that changed course a couple of times, they’ve been consistent. They’ve been supportive. This has always been a great place to play if you’re the home team.” – Carlisle on the fans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse throughout the season

“Our fans continue to support no matter what. They continue to show up and make it a hard place to play for an opposing team. We can’t thank them enough. It’s been an up-and-down year. But, at the same time, when you see your fanbase show up and support you, it’s incredible.” – McConnell on the fans

“He goes up and down and that’s something I do very well, I think. We’re similar in that way. People continuously leave him open to shoot it, and he makes them pay. I say he’s fast-paced but at the same time, he plays at his own speed. If you leave him open, he’s going to school. He gets downhill and looks for his teammates.” – McConnell on playing with Haliburton for the first time

Stat of the Night

The Pacers surrendered a season-high 82 points in the first half on 31-of-50 (62 percent) shooting to the 76ers

Noteworthy

  • In his first game back, T.J. McConnell finished with two points and five assists in 15:10 of action.
  • Lance Stephenson spent a moment after the game autographing several items for fans. He ended his time by throwing his jersey into the crowd
  • The Pacers will travel to Philadelphia to play the 76ers again on April 9

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