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Pacers final score: 76ers close out Pacers 120-106

Philadelphia stopped Indiana’s fourth quarter comeback in its tracks to drop the Pacers to 1-3 on the season. Tyrese Haliburton had 19 points and 10 assists.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Philadelphia 76ers Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

As gallant as their effort was, the Indiana Pacers simply lacked the shot making necessary to keep the Philadelphia 76ers winless, letting up a 17-6 run in the back half of the fourth quarter after having cut the lead down to eight on an Isaiah Jackson alley oop. James Harden and the Sixers scored on seven of eight possessions to wrap up the win while Indiana mired in their own misses.

The Pacers shot just 12-44 on the night from three point range, a lowly number in any situation, but proving especially poor given the quality of looks allowed by Philadelphia. That sheer inability to connect from deep kept Indiana’s comeback rather minimal, though they did a great job to open the fourth to slice into what had built into a 17-point lead on an Andrew Nembhard three, T.J. McConnell steal, and Bennedict Mathurin and-one.

Mathurin was the catalyst in Indiana’s fourth quarter comeback attempt, scoring 11 points total, overcoming an especially poor start in which he missed his first seven shots to get the game into single digits for the first time since the opening basket of the second quarter. Even being down that much was a bit of a disappointment after a relatively strong start, featuring eight first quarter lead changes, the best start of the year for the Pacers, leading halfway through the quarter 17-15 on a Buddy Hield three before Philly went on a 15-2 run to take the lead for good.

Tyrese Haliburton led the way with another double double, finishing with 19 points and 10 assists, including six rebounds, but the number of assists left on the floor tonight was staggering. Haliburton was dealing throughout the night, largely responsible for finding shooters in great position, but the connections were few and far between. He still led the team in three point makes with three, including some deep looks and rare assisted on triples, attempting to show guys how it was done.

Hield also had three makes, picking up his play especially with Mathurin’s struggles, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds, and six assists. He wasn’t immune to wide open misses, however, shooting just 3-10 from deep, but still posted one of the better three point percentages on the night given the all around struggles of Nembhard, Aaron Nesmith, and Chris Duarte (3-12 combined).

Jalen Smith was one of those guys, going 2-5 from deep and finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds. It was a good showing from Smith not only in building on his play against Detroit, but in that he was still able to remain effective even in moving into the center position with Jackson struggling with foul trouble throughout the night.

Mathurin’s 11 fourth quarter points helped him total 17 on the night, finishing 6-16 from the field and 1-7 from three. He would lead the team in free throws going 4-4, which isn’t an ideal against a team like Philadelphia with Joel Embiid connecting on nine attempts despite also being limited with foul trouble, but the Pacers were only -5 attempts on the night.

Despite the loss, the Pacers did offer up a number of positives, though nearly all of them were cancelled out in one way or another due to their inexperience. They pulled in 14 offensive rebounds, led by Smith with four and Duarte with three, though unfortunately weren’t able to convert at a high enough rate given their sheer volume of misses, scoring just 10. They also outscored the 76ers 50-26 in the paint, which again, was partially based on necessity given their struggles from deep. A 24-7 win in transition is great to see, but even that advantage was minimized due to a 19-7 loss in points off turnovers.

Their first road game may have been a loss, but they’ll have four more opportunities to pick up a victory on this current trip that will admittedly remain very tough, starting with the first matchup of the season against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.