The Sixers remain a strong contender to win the East despite inconsistent results of late. With Joel Embiid playing at an MVP level and James Harden always a threat to play at the same level, Philly presents a challenge to any NBA team, let alone the patchwork Pacers. The Sixers remain entangled in a battle for the top four spots in the East and also appear fully healthy.
After seven consecutive losses, the Pacers closing schedule (2 vs. 76ers and 1 vs. Nets) doesn’t leave lot of hope to find favorable fortunes in the short term. That leaves us looking for games within the games to find fun, like watching the young guys.
However, watching “old” guys may be where to look against the Sixers with TJ McConnell possibly returning after being out since early December following surgery on his right hand. Nothing could be more appropriate for Fan Appreciation night at the Fieldhouse.
TJ Maxx? Lance? Make it happen!!!
Malcolm Brogdon may also be available to give the Pacers a few more normal rotation lineups to run through one last time. The Pacers beat the Sixers in their only other meeting, 118-113 back in mid-November. Five of the nine Pacers who combined for 70 points in that game are no longer with the team, while none of the nine have played a second of the current seven-game losing streak. So, yeah, the Sixers remain heavy favorites to help the Pacers maintain their current spot in the NBA draft lottery.
DraftKings Odds: 76ers -11.5, O/U 234.5 (latest DraftKings odds here)
When: 7:00 PM EST
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TV: Bally Sports Indiana
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Oshae Brissett, Terry Taylor, Goga Bitadze
76ers: Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid
IND: Goga Bitadze - questionable (sore right foot), Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore lower back), Chris Duarte - questionable (sore left toe), T.J. McConnell - questionable (right wrist ligament surgery), Ricky Rubio - out (torn left ACL), Myles Turner - out (left foot stress reaction), T.J. Warren – out (left navicular fracture)
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.