The 76ers (47-22) will seek their eighth straight win, and a perfect 3-game road trip, Saturday at Indiana (32-38).
The Sixers will also be facing the latter half of a back-to-back Saturday, after a dominant, 121-82, win over the Hornets (22-50) Friday in Charlotte.
“They were deadly focused, but they were still enjoying what they were doing,” Doc Rivers said of his team postgame. “That’s a good thing.”
It was yet another shining outing from NBA scoring leader Joel Embiid, who finished with 38 points and 13 rebounds in just 29 minutes of play.
“It’s awesome,” Rivers said of Embiid’s play of late. “I like what he’s doing. He’s scoring, but he’s also dominating the game on the other end. He’s making the right passes, he’s including his teammates. And then defensively, he’s just been dominant.”
Indiana will also be looking to build on momentum Saturday, after beating the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks (50-20) on Thursday despite being shorthanded. Eight Pacers finished in double-figures in Thursday’s 139-123 victory.
The Pacers and Sixers last faced off on March 9, as the Sixers took a 147-143 victory in Indianapolis.
Embiid led the way in that matchup, finishing with 42 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. He shot 11-for-16 from the field and made all 19 of his free throw attempts in 37 minutes of play.
Tyrese Maxey added 24 points that night (8-13 fg, 6-9 3fg), and James Harden added a 14-point, 20-assist double-double plus nine rebounds.
For Indiana, Tyrese Haliburton led the way, recording a 39-point, 16-assist double-double, shooting 12-for-19 overall and 10-for-10 from the line.
But the Pacers will be shorthanded in Saturday’s rematch, absent Haliburton (right ankle sprain), Kendall Brown (right tibia stress fracture), Chris Duarte (left ankle soreness), and Benedict Mathurin (right ankle sprain).
Saturday’s matchup is a 7:00 p.m. ET tip.
Friday’s Key Contributors:
- Embiid scored a game-high 38 points, plus a game-high 13 rebounds, five assists, and a game-high four blocks in just 29 minutes of play. He shot 16-for-21 from the field and 6-for-7 from the foul line. He finished at a game-high +26 (tied with Georges Niang).
- Harris totalled 18 points on efficient 7-for-11 shooting and 3-for-5 shooting from long range, plus five rebounds and a steal.
- Harden notched a 11-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist triple-double, plus three steals in 31 minutes of play, finishing at +25.
- Maxey finished with 13 points, two rebounds, and two assists in 29 minutes of play.
Quote to Note:
Doc Rivers on the Sixers’ dominant open to their back-to-back:
“I thought it was a professional win. We showed up, we played. They’re struggling a little bit, and we just attacked… It was good. I like how we played defensively, and I love how we moved the ball.”
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