Indiana was outrebounded for the first time since the loss to Portland last weekend, but the Pacers were dominant in the interior, outscoring Philly by 16 points in the paint. Myles Turner was extremely impactful on the defensive end, recording 6 blocks and 2 steals, adding another outstanding game to a potential All-Defense portfolio.
Myles continued his offensive excellence as well, nailing 2/5 3’s tonight and contributing 20 points on 75% true-shooting.
The pacers gained an early double digit lead, forcing a timeout early in the 2nd quarter after going up 40-25 on the back of an absolute heater from Justin Holiday. Holiday looked the best he has athletically in some time, seeming to finally have that lingering ankle injury out of the way.
Justin was fantastic in ball denial on Furkan Korkmaz and Seth Curry and held his own well in isolation against Tobias Harris down the stretch. He finished with a team high 27 points including 6 of 8 from 3.
Kelan Martin continues to impress in a role that he’s rightfully secured since returning from injury.
Indy’s offense went cold in the second half after their hot shooting regressed, but Martin contributed 5 of his 6 baskets in the 3rd and 4rth quarter, including a few self-created looks from two and a massive 3 off a two man game with Malcolm Brogdon.
Brogdon struggled shooting against the Sixers, but set the table for the Pacers offense, routinely getting downhill and creating open looks for easy shots in the halfcourt. He finished with his second career triple-double.
Chris Duarte and Caris LeVert both had quieter performances due to injury. Caris played a limited role tonight, as Rick Carlisle mentioned pre-game that he would be in a reduced role coming off of missing games with his back injury. He was a little rusty with some uncharacteristic turnovers, but also had a few tremendous moments in isolation and out of the pick and roll. Duarte left the game with a knee injury but returned, although he was clearly hobbled and took a season low 6 shots.
Domantas Sabonis canned two threes and was well in rhythm offensively. He was utilized more as a post-hub in the 2nd half like he was in seasons prior and the offense really loosened up, as he hit cutters well for easy baskets and forced rotations leading to open shooters. He finished with 18/12/5 and was a steady presence all night.
The Pacers simply do not win this game without TJ McConnell. McConnell scored 6 points in 3 possessions and 59 seconds of game time to extend the Pacers’ lead, force a Philadelphia timeout, and provide some breathing room.
Torrey Craig was the only rotation player to play who didn’t score, but his minutes defending Tobias Harris, who eviscerated the Pacers’ defense for 17 points in the first quarter, were vital.
The second half was far from perfect for the Pacers, but they weathered the storm and Philadelphia’s late runs, and escaped with a win.
The Pacers have the day off on Sunday, but have four games in the next six, starting with a rematch with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden Monday night at 7:30 EST.