Having not played since Monday’s loss in Chicago, the Indiana Pacers hit the floor tonight against Philadelphia after going 6-2 in their last eight games.
WHO: Indiana Pacers (6-5) @ Philadelphia 76ers (0-11)
WHEN: Tonight, 7 pm ET / 6 pm CT
WHERE: Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia, PA)
Monday was tough for Indiana. Having to hit the road to Chicago despite not having Rodney Stuckey, George Hill or Myles Turner available, the Pacers took to the grind and battled out with the Bulls in a game that went down to the final seconds.
Paul George has been red hot for the Blue & Gold as of late, scoring 26+ points in each of his last seven games, and could very well have won the game in Chicago if there was a foul called on Jimmy Butler in the dying moments. Regardless, PG13 will be matched up on by Jerami Grant and/or Nerlens Noel depending on how Brett Brown wants to execute defensively, but it’s another opportunity for him to light up the score sheet.
Facing the worst team in the NBA tonight, Indiana should plan on walking out with a W. Still, losses in games like these last year are what ended up costing the Pacers a playoff seed in the end.
Philadelphia has both the worst offense and one of the worst defenses in the league, averaging the lowest point total on the worst FG% of all 30 teams, and it’s not particularly close. The 76ers have lost a couple of close games, including a six-point loss to Dallas most recently, but by in large their losses have been in the double-digits and to teams the Pacers have been right there with since the season began.
The hosts are led in scoring by rookie Jahlil Okafor, who is still doing his best to impress on a squad without a win. Okafor is putting up 19.2 points and 7.6 points per game, and might have a small window of success tonight if he can exploit Ian Mahinmi and/or Lavoy Allen.
Overall, though, the problem remains that the talent around Okafor is not built to succeed, to say the least. I’m no expert, but the combination of a tough road loss, a night’s rest, and a winless team should be enough for Indiana to roll over the opposition tonight.