The Tip-Off: Philadelphia Battles Indiana For Fifth Seed

Coming off a dismal road trip, the Sixers finally returned home Monday night. Despite Ben Simmons “nearly throwing up” after a gruesome injury to Joel Embiid, the Sixers finally looked back to form. They played as a unit as they edged out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 120-113. To follow that up, the Sixers dominated the Celtics a few nights later in a 109-98 victory.

It wouldn’t be a Sixers’ season without having a disappointing loss after some good wins, as they found themselves dropping to a 7-13 road record in a 109-91 loss to Dallas.

In an attempt to avenge the tough road loss, the Sixers (25-15) travel to Indiana to battle the Pacers (24-15) for the fifth/sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Radio coverage will be on 97.5 The Fanatic.

The Philadelphia 76ers are two-point moneyline underdogs with an over/under set at 224.5.

Injury Updates:

Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid is the lone name on the injury report for Philadelphia. As mentioned above, Embiid suffered a flat out nasty finger injury. On a more positive note, Embiid will be re-evaluated in another week or two after undergoing successful surgery.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have a laundry list of names on their report. Malcolm Brogdon is questionable for Indiana, as he has been dealing with strep throat. Domantas Sabonis’ status is also up in the air, as he suffered a left knee injury. To wrap things up, Victor Oladipo is still out after tearing his ACL about a year ago.

(Recent) Road Woes

The Philadelphia 76ers have lost five straight games on the road. After dropping four straight games during their recent road trip, Saturday’s loss to the Mavericks pushed the Sixers season-worst five straight road losses.

Over this stretch, Philadelphia has done a poor job scoring. They’ve averaged eight fewer points for (101.8) than their season average. They’ve also surrendered 111.4 points to their opponents on average, almost six more than they have this season.

Tobias Harris recognized the team’s lack of production away from Philly after Saturday’s loss:

“I think today’s game, we had great energy and great spirit in the first half,” said Tobias Harris. “Second half, we let up a little bit and they were able to take hold of the game. We just didn’t have enough to come out and pull out the victory. It is what it is but at the same time, we just have to figure out a way on the road to get wins and to put that behind us.”

This does not mesh well with Indiana and their home success this season. Indiana showcases a 15-5 record at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. With this, they’ve scored an average of 111 points, while keeping their opponents to a humble 105.6 points.

Prediction:

For one of the first time’s this season, I do not feel very confident in the Sixers’ chances to win this game. Not having their leading scorer and rebounder in Joel Embiid does not help the equation, and the Sixers deservedly are underdogs in this match up.

However, just because most people are doubting them to win this game, they’ll keep it close, or possibly even win it. This one will be a low scoring affair, and the only way the Sixers win is if Al Horford carries his recent performance against the Celtics into this game.

The game depends on Horford and Ben Simmons. If they perform well, Sixers will win this one 105-99. If the Sixers play to their normal road routine, this will be a 110-103 Pacers victory.

 Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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