In their second back-to-back of the week, the Sixers take on the Indiana Pacers tonight in Indianapolis. After going 0-2 in the first back-to-back, the Sixers will try to finish up the week 2-0 in this one, after pulling out a win despite an ugly 4th quarter collapse last night in Philadelphia.
The Sixers last faced the Pacers in November and came away with a victory on the back of J.J. Redick’s breakout performance of the season. Tonight, they look to ride Joel Embiid’s first back-to-back of his career to a win and hopefully extend their lead over the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference standings.
Embiid’s first back-to-back game is the biggest storyline heading into tonight’s game. Initially, in last night’s game, it looked like the All-Star center would get some extra rest as the Sixers had a 26 point lead going into the fourth quarter. Alas, it was not meant to be as the Sixer lead dwindled and Embiid had to go back on the court and help put the game away. Still, Embiid played about a minute less than he has averaged over the previous ten games. After last night’s game, Coach Brett Brown was asked if he still planned to play Embiid in tonight’s game and he excitedly answered in the affirmative. Embiid has been wanting to silence his detractors, who consistently point to the fact that he hasn’t played back-to-back games as to why he shouldn’t earn certain accolades, and he finally gets the opportunity to do so tonight.
As previously mentioned, the 3-point shooting of J.J. Redick was a big reason the Sixers secured a victory in the previous meeting with the Indiana Pacers. He shot an incredible 8-12 from the 3 point line and finished with 31 points. Tonight will only be Redick’s third game back after suffering a crack in the fibular head of his left leg. Since returning, his shooting hasn’t quite found its rhythm, shooting 36% from the field in that two-game span. The November 3rd game against the Pacers also fell in the middle of a stretch of nine games in which Robert Covington was shooting 47% from 3, on 73 shots. In the past nine games, Covington has averaged 42% from beyond the arc, on only 58 shots. His 3 point shot seems to be falling a little easier after a tough three-game stretch, so hopefully, we’re at the beginning of another positive Covington shooting streak.
The Sixers will need offense to beat the Pacers, as first-time All-Star Victor Oladipo is sure to put up big numbers. He has averaged 22.5 points in 2018, after missing four games with a knee injury. Some of that offense will come from Ben Simmons, who has averaged about 20-7-8 since he was left off the All-Star reserves’ list. When asked last night if his recent productivity spurt is because he has something to prove Simmons responded, “I’m just playing,” but the smile on his face told a different story.
Game Time: 7:00 pm
TV: NBCSports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic