It’s a battle of teams looking to improve their standing in the Eastern Conference playoff picture in the City of Brotherly Love. The Indiana Pacers are on the road as they travel to face the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night. Indiana won their second straight by rallying for a 99-97 win on the road over Boston Sunday. Philadelphia won for the fourth time in six games as they clubbed the Nets 120-97 on the road Sunday. The 76ers own a 97-77 lead in the all-time regular season series: the teams split two earlier meetings this season with the Pacers taking a 100-92 home win in the last matchup on February 3.
Indiana Pacers Look to Extend Unlikely Division Lead
Indiana took advantage of the Celtics being banged up to rally for a road win. The Pacers, who have won five of six, moved half a game ahead of Cleveland in the Central Division after their win and the Cavaliers’ loss Sunday night. Indiana trailed by 10 at the half but outscored Boston 34-20 in the third quarter before holding on in a tightly contested final stanza for the win. The Pacers shot 48.1 percent from the field and connected on 12 of 22 three point attempts in the contest. Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 27 points in the win
The Pacers are 14th in the league in scoring with 106 points a night. Indiana is 22nd in the league in rebounding by collecting 42.4 boards per game. The Pacers are 22nd in assists with 22.1 per game but have been inconsistent defensively this season. Indiana is 10th in the league in scoring defense, allowing 104.4 points per game. Victor Oladipo leads the Pacers with 23.8 points plus 5.3 rebounds and 2.23 steals per contest: he missed four games with a sore knee. Myles Turner averages 13.6 points plus seven rebounds and 1.98 blocks per game but missed seven games earlier this season with a concussion. He missed nine games with a sprained elbow before returning off the bench against the Magic January 27. Darren Collison (12.6 points, 5.3 assists), Thaddeus Young (11.5 points, six rebounds), Domantas Sabonis (11.8 points, eight rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (14.3 points) are contributing offensively. Collison missed 11 games after knee surgery before returning against the Hawks March 9. The Pacers have to get production from Cory Joseph, Lance Stephenson and Trevor Booker while getting better work on the glass. Indiana is tied for 4th in the league by shooting 47.6 percent from the field. The Pacers are tied for 24th with 9.1 threes per game. Indiana stands tied for 4th in the league as they’re knocking down 37.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Philadelphia 76ers Try to Win For Fifth Time in Last Seven Games
Philadelphia has taken four of their last six games as they hammered the Nets in an Atlantic Division matchup Sunday to bounce back from a loss to Miami. The 76ers finished 2-2 on a four game trip and look to build some momentum here at home. Philadelphia led by 12 after one quarter and cruised the rest of the way. The 76ers never saw their lead dip below six over the final three quarters: they shot a solid 52.6 percent from the floor and went nine of 26 from beyond the arc. Joel Embiid led eight Philadelphia players in double figures with 21 points in the win.
The 76ers are above average on the offensive end of the floor. The team is 10th in the league in scoring offense with 107.9 points per game. Philadelphia is 1st in rebounding with 46.6 boards a night and 3rd with 25.9 assists per contest. The 76ers are average on the defensive end, ranking 14th by allowing 105.6 points a game. Jerryd Bayless is putting up 7.9 points per game while Ben Simmons averages 16.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.6 assists plus 1.72 steals per contest. Robert Covington adds 12.6 points per night, Joel Embiid contributes a team leading 23.4 points plus 10.9 rebounds and 1.74 blocks per contest while JJ Redick chips in 16.6 points a game. Redick missed seven games with a leg injury before returning January 31 against the Nets. T.J. McConnell, Dario Saric (15 points, seven rebounds), Marco Belinelli (11.4 points), Ersan Ilyasova (10.8 points, 5.5 boards), Amir Johnson and #1 overall pick Markelle Fultz are going to be looked at to contribute. Fultz is continuing to rehab his shoulder: recent reports have him shooting from outside the arc. A potential return date has yet to be determined: he’s played just four games this season and has been out since October 23 with a shoulder issue. The 76ers are 10th in the league shooting the ball as they hit 46.8 percent from the floor. Philadelphia is 13th in threes per game with 10.6 triples a night and 13th in three point shooting as they hit 36.5 percent from beyond the arc.
- No Key Trends
- 76ers are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 Tuesday games
Indiana has been on a bit of a roll but they are on the road in this one. The Pacers have started and stopped their way all season to a .500 record as the visiting team. On the flip side, Philadelphia is 20-9 at home and has 12 of their final 17 games here at the Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers beat the Pacers here back in November by 11. The additions of Belinelli and Ilyasova have paid dividends for Philadelphia: look for that duo to help the young guns deliver a home win over a tough Indiana squad.
Pick: Philadelphia 76ers -5.5
Indiana is atop the Central Division: if you said that would be the case with a month to go in the regular season, the majority would think you were a liar or a mental patient. The Pacers weren’t expected to do much of anything yet that’s why you play the games as opposed to going off paper. The return of Collison should be a shot in the arm for Indiana: he scored 17 points against Atlanta and while he had just two against Boston, he handed out 10 assists. Philadelphia has the bulk of their remaining schedule at home, which is good news for them. The 76ers were sixth in the East entering Monday, just 1.5 games behind Cleveland for fourth. Can the 76ers make a move down the stretch?
The under is 6-0 in the Pacers’ last 6 games playing on 1 day of rest, 7-0-1 in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 4-0 in their last 4 games following a straight up win and 8-0 in their last 8 vs. Eastern Conference foes. Philadelphia has seen the under go 7-2 in their last nine after an ATS win and 6-2 in their last eight overall. This one likely sees both teams crack triple digits but I see it falling a couple points short of the total.