Game Preview | Tough Stretch to Start in Indianapolis

by Lauren Rosen

Scene Setter:

The January Juggernaut is about to begin for the 76ers (29-16), as the team starts a stretch of playing 11 of its next 12 games against opponents that would currently qualify for the playoffs.

Up first on Thursday, the Indiana Pacers (29-14).

Their resume: 15-5 record at home, second in the league in steals (9.2 spg), second in the league in field goal accuracy (48.3 percent), and third in the league in defensive rating (103.8).

Luckily, the 76ers (29-16) are coming in hot.

The squad will seek its third consecutive win after Tuesday’s commanding 149-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. From an 83-point first half to a franchise-record 21 3-pointers, a balanced, persistent attack led to one of the team’s best wins of the season.

“I thought we had tremendous spirit,” Brett Brown said. “It was a perfect storm for us.”

Against the Wolves, the team collected a season-high 40 rebounds. Joel Embiid grabbed 13 of them (to go with 31 points) in his 27 minutes of play.

Ben Simmons has scored 20-plus points in his last three games, and was just one rebound shy of triple-doubles in each of his last two appearances.

The Sixers won their first meeting with the Pacers, 100-94, on November 7th. The Pacers evened the series on December 17th, 113-101.

The Sixers currently occupy fourth-place in the Eastern Conference. Meeting some of the top teams in the conference--including the Pacers, Raptors and Celtics--in the weeks ahead offers the Sixers a chance to gain ground in the standings.

“The next three weeks are really going to shape our season,” Embiid said Sunday. “I’m excited to compete.”

Opponent Outlook:

Holding down the third spot in the East, the Pacers are also in pursuit of their third consecutive victory. For the second straight year, Victor Oladipo leads his team in scoring (19.5 ppg), while Domantas Sabonis is averaging career-highs in points (15.2) and rebounds (9.7).

Follow Along:

Audio: 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network

Video: TNT / NBC Sports Philadelphia / NBC Sports MyTeams app

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