Another slow start led to another loss as the season continues to wind down for the Indiana Pacers. The Philadelphia 76ers jumped all over Indiana out of the gate, going up 17-6 and finishing with 37 first quarter points. That all but did it for the Pacers, eventually falling behind by 21 with under four minutes in the first half.
As the Pacers have done, however, they were able to slice into the lead heading into the break in large part thanks to Duane Washington Jr. He and Tyrese Haliburton finished the half on an 11-2 run to cut the difference to 12 at the break. Washington had 13 points in the quarter to help Indiana tough out a second quarter victory.
Haliburton’s success to end the half was a much different story after he had struggled throughout the half against Philly’s defense, but after the Sixers came out of the break on a 10-2 run of their own, Haliburton scored four, finding Oshae Brissett twice as the Pacers cut the lead all the way to five with five minutes remaining in the third.
Brissett scored 11 in that stretch, hitting a couple of threes, but the lack of size against Joel Embiid proved comical when he heaved up an answered prayer on a three pointer, kickstarting a 12-4 76ers run that more or less put the game out of reach the rest of the way for Indiana.
The Pacers did well to keep the game around 10 however, cutting it to eight when Embiid hit his second three of the night and Danny Green was given impossible continuation on a four-point play, swelling the lead immediately up to 15. The Pacers wound up allowing 120 points for the eighth straight game and Embiid got to pad his stats just enough to finish with 41 points and 20 rebounds, so in the end everyone was happy.
No doubt the happiest Pacer of the game was Gabe York, making his NBA debut. After looking shaky on a trip to the free throw line, York finished with seven points and two assists, hitting a late three and completing an impressive and-one in the second quarter.
AND ONE— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 9, 2022
first career NBA bucket for Gabe York pic.twitter.com/RVPSEKHPWd
That play, in addition to just being nice to watch, marked a bit of a change for the game. Washington’s dive to save the play was the first real hustle play from the Pacers, who to that point had gotten completely worked over by Philadelphia in terms of extra effort plays, crushing Indiana on the glass.
Brissett would lead the way for the Pacers both in points and on the boards, finishing with 20 & 7, an impressive turnaround after immediately picking up two fouls in a foul-heavy first quarter. Philly attempted 13 free throws in the first quarter, but wound up with just 27 for the game.
The Pacers meanwhile shot 36 for the game, every one of their nine rotation players working themselves to the line. Haliburton was second in attempts with six, three behind Brissett who had nine. Haliburton finished with 19 points and nine assists, coming around after an abysmal first half getting basically shut down by Tyrese Maxey. That was part of the reason he finished with six turnovers for the game. Though he did look better in the second half, scoring 12, he did commit four of those turnovers after the break.
T.J. McConnell had a solid performance as well, finishing with 12 points and six assists, looking much more comfortable after a shaky first game back on Tuesday. He didn’t look much better to start in this one, but came around late in his first start since November. Isaiah Jackson leapt his way to 16 points and seven rebounds, hitting one of Indiana’s 10 three pointers on the afternoon.
Off the bench, Washington led the way with 15 points, hitting a pair of threes and Terry Taylor closed out with 10 points and five boards, three offensive. Lance Stephenson provided some solid minutes off the bench, scoring nine with five assists and four rebounds, steadying the ship a bit after the rough start to the game.
@StephensonLance beats the shot clock pic.twitter.com/bmMHq8QWlN— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 9, 2022
The losses continue to pile up for the Pacers, their ninth in a row. Unsurprisingly, that is their longest of the year and the longest since March of 2007 when they wound up losing 11 straight. Mercifully, Indiana won’t get there this season as they wrap things up tomorrow afternoon in another early tip against the Brooklyn Nets.
This loss guarantees them at least the 5th worst record in the league with an outside shot at tying for 4th with a loss tomorrow and Oklahoma City win. One of those feels more likely than the other, but it all goes to show you, you just never know.