This game could have some significant playoff implications. The 76ers and Pacers enter the NBA Restart tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a 39-26 overall record. Can Philadelphia take care of business in Walt Disney World against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night?
76ers hoping to display improved chemistry in OrlandoBefore the NBA season came to a screeching halt, Philadelphia was one of the most puzzling teams in the league. The 76ers enter the NBA Restart in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings and despite all of their collective talent, Philadelphia managed just 109.7 points per 100 possessions during the regular season. Ironically, that tied them with the Pacers for 17th in the NBA. But the long layoff helped the 76ers get healthy, which could set them up to make a run in Orlando.
The only problem? Philadelphia was awful away from home during the 2019-2020 season. Ben Simmons and company will no longer have the luxury of playing in the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center, where they went 29-2 compared to just 10-24 on the road. The .641 difference between there home and road winning percentages was on pace to be the largest by any team in NBA history.
BEN SIMMONS FOR THREE! 💥 pic.twitter.com/T6Q57D7EmI— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 24, 2020
If Philadelphia is going to capitalize on its potential, they will need to find a better fit for Al Horford, who hasn’t been able to slot next to Embiid as the team had originally hoped. Opposing teams were outscoring the 76ers by 1.3 points per 100 possessions with the two big men on the floor at the same time. But when Horford is on the floor without Embiid, the 76ers own a +5.2 net rating. And when Embiid is on the floor without Horford, Philly’s net rating is +8.9.
Sabonis leaves NBA Bubble to seek treatmentUnlike the 76ers, who underperformed for the better part of the season, the Pacers overachieved with an overhauled roster that was decimated by injuries. Victor Oladipo didn’t play in his first game until Jan. 29 and Malcolm Brogdon was in and out of the lineup, missing a total of 18 games. Yet, Indiana made it work, battling its way within two games of the No. 4 seed in the East.
Victor Oladipo rises up to throw down his first dunk of the season. pic.twitter.com/AEI2tfkKfo— NBA (@NBA) February 2, 2020
While the layoff was supposed to help the Pacers get healthy, they enter the NBA Bubble banged up. Oladipo is optimistic that he will be able to play against the 76ers despite his injured quad. However, the Pacers will be without big man Domantas Sabonis, who left the NBA Bubble to seek treatment for a nagging case of plantar fasciitis. Sabonis was in the midst of a breakout season, averaging 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game, so his absence will certainly be felt inside by Indiana.
If Indiana can get healthy and Oladipo can regain the form that made him a budding All-Star, the Pacers could be a tough out in the NBA Playoffs. They’ll have to prove that they can get out of the first round first though. The Pacers have been eliminated from the playoffs in the first round in each of the past four seasons.
- 76ers are 5-14-1 ATS in their last 20 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- 76ers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games.
- 76ers are 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Pacers are 3-0-2 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Pacers are 6-1-2 ATS in their last 9 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Pacers are 3-1-2 ATS in their last 6 games overall.