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Pacers final score: 76ers cruise past Pacers 141-121

Offense came easy tonight for both teams, but Indiana couldn’t keep up with Philadelphia, losing at home. Aaron Nesmith led the Pacers with 25 points.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

A lacking performance on the defensive end doomed the Indiana Pacers tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers, allowing at least 34 points in each quarter as the Sixers completed the season series sweep in easy fashion. The Pacers weren’t able to stifle the Philadelphia offense at all tonight, allowing 61.4% shooting, the second worst outing of the year for Indiana’s defense.

The Pacers got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 12-4 lead, but that would prove short lived after Philly responded with 11 straight points to go ahead on the only lead change of the night. Indiana was able to keep the game from getting too far out of hand heading into the second half, but they were always one step behind, as evidenced by their 38-37 second quarter loss.

The 76ers shot 15-19 from the floor in the second quarter and opened the third making nine of their first 10 shots. The Pacers would shoot 14-19 themselves in the third quarter, yet were still unable to make up any ground, only managing to tie the quarter. Philly finally put the game away in the fourth, scoring the first nine of the quarter.

Though Indiana shot over 50% from the floor, nearly 40% from three, and rebounded well, pulling in 13 offensive rebounds, they were turnover prone, which proved costly on top of their general defensive woes. They lost the turnover battle 17-8 and were outscored 23-8 in points off turnovers. It wasn’t the difference between a win and a loss, but it played a big part in making it a loss.

All five starters reached double figures, led by Aaron Nesmith with 25. Nesmith shot the ball well, going 9-16 from the floor and 4-9 from three and was tasked with guarding Joel Embiid in stretches. That had mixed results at best, but on a night when Philadelphia got two 30-point scorers in Embiid and Tyrese Maxey and another 24 from Tobias Harris, getting any kind of comparable scoring helped keep the game in reach for a while.

Andrew Nembhard scored 22 himself, shooting 9-14 and 2-4 from three, his fifth straight game in double figures, extending his career best streak. He’s averaged 18.8 points per game in that stretch, coming around as a go-to scorer for this short-handed version of the Pacers.

Myles Turner had a 20-point, five rebound night, having some of his best success against Embiid in recent memory, though he did suffer an ankle injury in the third quarter. He did remain in the game, however. Jordan Nwora had 13 points, nearing a double double with nine rebounds and five assists, joining Nesmith with three offensive rebounds each. Buddy Hield had 13 himself on three threes, actually throwing one down on a putback dunk for one of the season’s more delightful oddities.

The starters totaled 93 points tonight, leaving little else for the bench. Jalen Smith scored 13 points with six rebounds and Oshae Brissett had nine, the two helping the Pacers climb back into the game early in the second quarter, but the bench had just 28 points total. T.J. McConnell scored six with nine assists, but he tied his season high with five turnovers and George Hill was unable to replicate his shooting against Milwaukee tonight, missing all three of his three point attempts.

The Eastern Conference standings have been a jumbled mess of late, but may finally see some level of separation between 10th and 12th as Chicago picked up a win against Miami. That puts the Bulls ahead 1.5 games on Indiana and Washington for the final play-in spot, a gap that could feel more insurmountable than it actually is.

After one game at home, the Pacers will head back out on the road for another week, their final multi-game road trip of the year, starting with a Monday night matchup against the Charlotte Hornets.