Just as everyone suspected, the Sixers are the hottest team in the NBA to start the season. They won their eighth straight game Sunday behind a career-high 50-point game from Tyrese Maxey against the Indiana Pacers.
The Sixers, sitting at 8-1 atop the Eastern Conference standings, are back at home to take on those same Pacers tonight, though this time with some more at stake. It will be the second game of group play for both teams of the In-Season Tournament.
This will be a big game for those standings, as the Sixers and Pacers sit atop their group (Eastern Conference Group A, in case you forgot), at 1-0, with the Sixers holding the slight advantage in point differential.
Despite the added stakes, the Sixers might be shorthanded in this one as they had some notable additions to the injury report. Nico Batum is listed as out with personal reasons, and Joel Embiid is questionable with left hip soreness.
Tonight will be the first half of a back-to-back and with the second leg of that coming against the Boston Celtics, these aren't surprising additions to the injury report. Nick Nurse implied after the last back-to-back (which was also the home opener, great job with the schedule this year, guys) that Embiid being questionable on those games would be a regular occurrence.
The Pacers, on the other hand, will be fully healthy once again. They will be a tough team to play on a back-to back with their lightning quick pace. Every Sixer who spoke to the media after the win Sunday described playing them as a “track meet.”