By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers had a lot on the line as they faced the Indiana Pacers tonight. Not only did they have their season high eight game win streak on the line, but also winning one of these next four games clinches first place in the East for them. Philly came out looking to dominate an undermanned Indiana squad. Unfortunately for them the Pacers outpaced them 103-94.
It looked good for Philly early on in the game. Despite the fact they were missing center Joel Embiid (non-covid illness), guard/forward Matisse Thybulle (sore hand), and guard Furkan Korkmaz (ankle sprain), the offense was booming. Ben Simmons was the catalyst too he scored 14 of his 20-points by half-time. He was aggressive and dictated the mood of the game from the opening tipoff. He imposed his will on the smaller Pacers defenders. His playmaking also got his teammates involved. The floor was open for him with the absence of Embiid and he took advantage of it. Philly will continue to need this Simmons to show-up especially come the postseason it will make them an even more dangerous team.
Unfortunately for the Sixers they had to play another 24-minutes. The Pacers turned up the heat on the defensive side on Philly and they folded. They only scored 13-points in the third quarter and that proved to be the difference in the game. The Pacers took advantage of Philly’s power outage in the third. They opened up the floodgates on them. Guard Caris LeVert in particular exploded on them in the second half after being held in check. He scored 24-points and he hit the game-clinching three. To crush Philly’s hopes of clinching the number one seed tonight.
On the loss, “ We didn’t have any execution tonight. We really didn’t. First quarter we were brilliant with moving the ball, getting the ball to the right spots, running our stuff …We lost our focus. So we had no execution tonight,” said Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers.
Philly now gets a night off to prepare for the Miami Heat on Thursday night. They will need another player to step up other than Tobias Harris, Simmons, and Curry if they want to beat Miami. They will also need another strong night on defense to keep the shooters of the Heat down.
On the power outage, “Shots weren’t falling for us. We didn’t execute the way we wanted to,” said Harris.