Fri. Aug 14th, 2020

Game Preview: Pacers vs 76ers – Pacers.com

Game Preview: Pacers vs 76ers  Pacers.com

Matchup

Nearly five months after their season came to an abrupt halt, the Pacers (39-26) will resume their 2019-20 campaign on Saturday night, taking on the Philadelphia 76ers (39-26) in the first of eight seeding games in Orlando.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered life across the world in 2020, but NBA fans will get some degree of normalcy this week as the league officially restarts its season. So far, the league’s “bubble” has been a great success, with no positive tests since July 13, creating optimism for an uninterrupted conclusion to the regular season and playoffs.

The Pacers have officially clinched a playoff spot, but the next eight games will determine their seeding and first-round matchup. Saturday’s game is especially important as Indiana and Philadelphia are currently tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers currently hold the tiebreaker over the Sixers thanks to a 2-1 lead in the season series. A win Saturday would secure the tiebreaker for good.

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Indiana will be without an All-Star when the season restarts, as forward Domantas Sabonis has left the bubble to seek medical treatment for plantar fasciitis is out “indefinitely.”

The Pacers may, however, have the services of two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo. Oladipo originally planned to sit out the restart, but has reconsidered his decision since arriving in Orlando. He played in all three scrimmages over the past week, averaging 11.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in limited minutes and is expected to make a final decision on his status soon.

Indiana’s chief focus on Saturday will be containing All-NBA center Joel Embiid. Embiid did not play in either of the Pacers’ two wins over Philadelphia this season, but historically has given the Blue & Gold fits. He had 32 points and 11 rebounds while going 15-for-15 from the free throw line in the Sixers’ 119-116 win over Indiana on Nov. 30.

With Sabonis and rookie center Goga Bitadze both out, the Pacers have limited depth in the post. Myles Turner will draw the primary assignment of guarding Embiid, but expect head coach Nate McMillan to mix up his coverages (and perhaps even play some zone) to try to keep Turner out of foul trouble.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG – Malcolm Brogdon, SG – Aaron Holiday, SF – Victor Oladipo, PF – T.J. Warren, C – Myles Turner
76ers: PG – Shake Milton, SG – Josh Richardson, SF – Tobias Harris, PF – Ben Simmons, C – Joel Embiid

Injury Report

Pacers: Jeremy Lamb – out (torn ACL, left knee), Domantas Sabonis – out (plantar fasciitis, left foot), Goga Bitadze – out

76ers: None

Last Meeting

January 13, 2020: Malcolm Brogdon hit two big shots and scored eight of 10 points for Indiana down the stretch to leading the Pacers to a 101-95 victory over Philadelphia at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Brogdon had only played eight minutes since Dec. 22 while battling myriad minor maladies and battled rust for much of the contest, starting the night 3-for-12 from the field, but his confidence never wavered.

“I was just hoping I’d get my rhythm by the end of the game,” Brogdon said after the win. “I was able to do that. My teammates really trust me with the ball and trust me to do that.”

Brogdon finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, and just one turnover in his return to the lineup. T.J. Warren also scored 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting in the victory. Justin Holiday hit 4-of-6 3-pointers on his way to 14 points, while Myles Turner (14 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks) and Domantas Sabonis (10 points and 16 boards) both recorded double-doubles.

Ben Simmons led all scorers with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds and three assists. Josh Richardson added 23 points in the loss.

Noteworthy

  • A win Saturday would mean the Pacers would take the season series with Philadelphia for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Indiana won the season series for five straight years, but the Sixers took three of four regular season contests last season.
  • Three Pacers have played for the 76ers earlier in their careers: Justin Holiday (2013), T.J. McConnell (2015-19), and JaKarr Sampson (2014-16).
  • Philadelphia acquired former Pacer Glenn Robinson III in a trade with Golden State on Feb. 6. Robinson played for Indiana from 2015-18 and won the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend in 2017.

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio host)