It didn't take long to realize that both the Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers needed a few minutes to shake off the rust after their extended mid-season break. The Pacers were a bit better at doing that than their counterparts, and after sprinting out to a seven-point first-quarter lead, they held on for a comfortable 106-95 victory.
Pacers' guard Rodney Stuckey led all scorers with 30 points before going down with a serious-looking ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Indiana finished with four scorers in double figures, including C.J. Miles, who scored 14 of his 17 points in this first quarter.
From the Sixers' end, the night belonged to Nerlens Noel, who finished within arms' length of a triple-double (12 points, nine rebounds, nine blocks, four steals). Jason Richardson - who started at shooting guard - looked pretty decent in his first game since his 2013 knee injury. Seven points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes of action is a fairly solid run for a 34-year-old man who hasn't played in more than 760 calendar days.
With the departure of Michael Carter-Williams, the Sixers' lack of depth at the point guard position was never more apparent than it was tonight. Tim Frazier did a competent job in the first game of his second 10-day contract (13 points, seven assists, 4 TOs), but without him on the court, the 76ers were a dreadful -18.
Full recap to come. Until then, enjoy the start of the Franklin era.