After a win against the New York Knicks, the Sixers will try to keep their home winning streak alive. While 13-6 on the year, the Sixers are currently 8-0 at home. The Sixers are one of four undefeated teams at home in the eastern conference.
Know your enemy
Coming to town are the 12-6 Indiana Pacers normally led by Victor Oladipo. Oladipo is in the final stages of rehab after undergoing knee surgery in January. During his absence, the team has seen incredible growth from Big-man Domantas Sabonis and new additions Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and T.J. Warren.
Indiana is one of the deepest teams in the NBA. Though they’re without Oladipo for now, the current starters are playing unbelievable basketball. Brogdon, Lamb, Sabonis, and Warren are all averaging over 17 points per game. This game will be a good test for the Sixers.
Keys to the game
Push the ball
The transition game will be huge. Off defensive rebounds and turnovers, the Sixers will have a chance to take advantage of Indiana’s lack of athleticism. The Sixers are already a team that succeeds in transition and their matchup tonight gives them the edge.
The Sixers will most likely be without Josh Richardson tonight so it’s up to Ben Simmons and most likely Trey Burke to push the tempo. Expect to see a lot of James Ennis, not just because of Richardson’s injury but because of his ability to shoot, defend, and run.
Get the starters going early
Brett Brown will need to get the starters going early and often to win tonight. Trying to establish Harris and Embiid is a huge bullet-point on tonight’s agenda. Harris tends to find success when he gets to work early and Embiid would be best served looking to draw foul contact early as well.
Indiana is a very deep team so even if the Sixers are able to stop the starters defensively, that’s no guarantee of a win. Some games you just need to mentally focus on getting guys in a rhythm early and tonight’s game is one of them. If Brown can work Embiid and Harris into the game early, that will set the team up for success.
While Indiana does have plenty of scoring options, as a unit they only score 109.3 points per game. That may sound like a lot but it’s only good enough for 16th in the league. Both teams have an ability to play stellar defense and I think tonight will turn into a defensive slugfest with the Sixers remaining perfect at home.
Final score: Indiana 97 – Sixers 103
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM EST with coverage beginning at 6:30. Watch on NBC Sports Philadelphia or NBA Tv, or listen live at 97.5 FM the fanatic.
Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports