Tonight, we have a power battle between the No. 3 and No. 4 team in the Eastern Conference, with 1.0 game separating the Indiana Pacers (29-14) and Philadelphia 76ers (29-16) for playoff positioning. Indiana is the higher team in the 3rd spot 2.5 games behind the 1st place Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks (tie).
For Philadelphia, they will look to extend their two-game winning streak to three when they face the Pacers — and they’re coming into Indiana with massive momentum. They were on fire Tuesday night, scoring a season-high 149 points where they got a 42-point blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Philadelphia’s stars came to play that night as well. Joel Embiid was a force in scoring putting up 31 points, and grabbed down 13 rebounds in the process. Ben Simmons nearly had a triple-double — compiling a stat line of 20 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists; and he did this even though he was out for the majority of the fourth quarter. The Sixers were so hot that night that even deep bench-player Jonah Bolden achieved a career-high of 14 points. It also should be mentioned that Jimmy Butler scored 19 points against his former team.
The 76ers will be looking for consecutive victories at Indianapolis for the first time since the 2004-05 season — they won three straight then.
In two meetings this season, Philadelphia and Indiana sit with a 1-1 tie.
For the Pacers, they’re also coming in with momentum against the Sixers tonight. On Tuesday, they hammered the Phoenix Suns by a 131-97 score, and it was utter domination from the get-go. Indiana led 38-19 when the first quarter had ended, and never looked back in an easy win.
Statistically, Indiana was turned on as well. Though he sat out most of the second half, their star Victor Oladipo had an effective stat line at eight points, six rebounds and five assists. Bojan Bogdanovic was the big man that night, scoring 20 points — Myles Turner added 18 for Philadelphia, and this after missing four games due to a sore right shoulder.
Oladipo had some interesting thoughts as well concerning his rest and the team’s play.
“They don’t need me to score right now,” Oladipo said to reporters. “I don’t need to score. I had four shots in the first half and we’re up 11. That’s the beauty of our team. We play well together.”
Like the 76ers, the Pacers will also be looking for their third consecutive victory. The win on Tuesday was the third game of the season where Indiana won by at least 30 points, and that was mainly from the defensive play. Indiana forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter alone, including nine deflections.
After tonight, both teams head into a difficult schedule, making this game between the two even more crucial.– get your popcorn ready.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
CHECK THE NUMBERS
We have some very interesting statistics coming into this game, and starting things off with the Philadelphia 76ers, they take two out of the four major stats. In offensive production, the Sixers have a 115.4 tally, which is +6 over the Pacers — however, they’re -1 in field goal percentage at 47.2 FG%. Also, a -9 disadvantage counters them on the defensive side — they average 112.4 PA. Things get sunny in Philadelphia again when you look at the numbers on the glass though: The 76ers are a solid +4 at 47.5 RPG.
Staying balanced with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Indiana Pacers also take two out of the four major statistical categories. On the scoring end, Indiana has a -6 disadvantage sitting at 109.0 PPG — they do have a slight +1 edge in shooting the ball though at 48.3 FG%. The -6 is countered though with Indiana’s net protection, they’re sitting with a nice +9 advantage with a strong 103.0 PA. But Philadelphia could also counter that in the rebounding, the Pacers are -4 sitting with an average of 43.7 RPG.
This is a huge game tonight with the playoffs being at stake, and as a result, you can The Philadelphia 76ers might have a significant advantage on the offensive side of the ball, but you have to bet with the Indiana Pacers to counter that with a crazy +9 edge on defense — and they’re at home. Though a +4 Philly advantage in rebounding makes it even more interesting.
With the stakes being high, you can expect the city of Indianapolis to be rockin’ tonight, and they’ll certainly add a sixth man to the Pacers’ element — that’s automatically a 6 vs. 5 advantage for Indiana. The battle on the boards will be crucial for the Pacers tonight. If they can contain Joel Embiid and the 47.5 RPG average, that should get them the win with their elite defense. The best part: They just need a few more rebounds than usual to achieve this, not too many.
Thank God this was chosen by TNT tonight for national television broadcast (7:00 PM ET), because this game will be a pure sight to see after our 3:00 PM ET NBA London Game between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers. Expect an all-out war, but due to the elite defense and home court advantage in what’s sure to be a playoff atmosphere, you have to ride with Indiana in a close one tonight.