Sixers/Pacers Preview: The Hunt For The Number One Seed

The Sixers are on the road visiting the Indiana Pacers as they continue their quest to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Sixers are two wins away from clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The next team standing in their way is the Indiana Pacers. Led by Domantas Sabonis, the Pacers are in the midst of a severely disappointing season as they currently sit in the tenth spot in the East’s standings.

The Pacers are fighting an uphill battle as they are just hoping to make the play-in tournament at this point. Their season has been disrupted by injuries mostly, but also, much of it may be due to issues stemming from the team’s Head Coach.

Locker room volatility aside, the Sixers cannot overlook this team who still has its fair share of talent. Sabonis and Caris LeVert still form a dynamic duo, and the Pacers are still deep even despite their recent rash of injuries. Speaking of which:

Sixers backpack

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Injuries

Pacers

TJ Warren – Out

Myles Turner – Out

Jeremy Lamb – Questionable

Malcolm Brogdon – Questionable

JaKarr Sampson – Questionable

T.J. Warren is out for the rest of the season, as is the likely cause for Myles Turner. Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon, and JaKarr Sampson all missed last night’s game and could be out tonight as well. It’s quite the long list for Indy, but the Sixers can’t take that for granted, as stated earlier.

While the Pacers aren’t particularly “star-studded,” they have depth, which makes them dangerous. LeVert and Sabonis alone could still present a challenge to the Sixers. T.J. McConnell and Doug McDermott are two high-quality role players who are both in the midst of career years. Then, once you factor in the Holiday brothers, you have a team just dangerous to give the Sixers issues.

Sixers

Matisse Thybulle – Out (hand)

Furkan Korkmaz – Out (ankle)

Joel Embiid – Questionable (illness)

The Sixers will find themselves a bit shorthanded as well as they will be without both Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz. That loss is substantial enough, but then, there’s the potential loss of Joel Embiid. Without Embiid, the Sixers’ chances to walk away with a win plummet.

With Embiid, the Sixers boast a record of 38-11, while without, they’re a mediocre 9-10. That’s a staggering win-percentage differential of .302 or roughly the difference of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ winning percentage.

It’s rather eye-popping the difference between the two teams, but it just goes to show how integral Embiid is to the Sixers. It’s even one of the major arguments for his case to win MVP.


Tip-Off

The two teams will face-off at 8:00 PM EST tomorrow night, and you can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or NBA League Pass. You can also listen live at 97.5 FM The Fanatic.

While these two squads won’t be at full strength, this is still a very important game due to its playoff ramifications. After Milwaukee’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the Sixers are only one win away from clinching the top seed in the East.

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