sports 4 days ago

Pacers hold off on Sixers, 101-98, key in Eastern Conference tilt

The Philadelphia Inquirer — By Keith Pompey The Philadelphia Inquirer

March 13-- PHILADELPHIA-Brett Brown shies away from singling out one game.

The 76ers coach usually says all of the games are equally important to win. However, he broke from the norm on Tuesday before losing a key game to the Indiana Pacers, 101-98, at Wells Fargo Center.

"Tonight we can get the split," he said pregame of securing a head-to-head tiebreaker. "We think they can be one of those teams hanging around, competing for home court. None of us can really predict what the next month, how those games are going to play.

"We're going into this game thinking this is an important game. I said that to the team-rarely do I go there."

However, his words weren't able to spark the Sixers (36-30). They went on to lose at their home arena for the first time since a 114-109 setback to the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 21. They had won 13 consecutive games here.

But the Sixers had an opportunity to win.

They pulled within three points (101-98) on Joel Embiid's dunk over Trevor Booker with 13.4 seconds left.

On the ensuing possession, Victor Oladipo was called with an offensive foul in the backcourt after being trapped by Ben Simmons and T.J. McConnell. That gave the Sixers the ball with 7.6 seconds. Embiid missed on a 3-pointer at the top the key.

Dario Saric and Oladipo were tied up for the ball with 3.0 seconds remaining. The referees called for a jump ball. After it was tipped, the ball went off a Sixer on the baseline with 0.3 seconds left. Indiana got possession and held onto the win.

The victory gave the Pacers the season series at 2-1. As a result, Indiana (40-28) owns the tiebreaker should both team finish the regular season with the same record.

Right now, the Pacers are in third place. The Sixers are 2 { games back in sixth place with 16 remaining.

The game featured two of the league's top young centers in Embiid and Myles Turner.

Embiid finished with a game-high 29 points to go with 12 rebounds and three blocks. The All-Star did, however, have eight turnovers. Turner finished with 25 points and six rebounds.

Meanwhile, Sixers point guard Ben Simmons had 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists (both game highs) for his seventh triple-double of the season. Saric added 18 points for the Sixers.

Former Sixer Thad Young had 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Pacers all-star Olapido was held to 11 points on 4-for-21 shooting.

This game also marked Booker's first game against the Sixers since being waived on Feb. 28. The Pacers signed him for the remainder of the season on March 3. He had five points and six rebounds in 17 minutes, 27 seconds.

The reserve power forward was very physical with his former teammates while providing solid defense.

Early on, the Sixers didn't exactly look like a team up for the challenge. The Pacers opened up a 12-point lead on Lance Stephenson's 18-foot jumper with 10 minutes, 37 seconds left in second quarter.

They, however, pulled within two points (66-64) on Robert Covington's 3-pointer with 8:22 left in the third quarter. Then Saric knotted the score at 71 on a 3-pointer with 5:23 remaining in the quarter.

But the Pacers responded with a 9-0 run to get a little cushion.

However, things started to get heated as the Sixers mounted a comeback. Booker straight-armed Embiid in the paint late in the quarter. The center collided into Domantas Sabonis underneath the basket. The Pacers reserve post player was injured on the play He went to the locker room unable to put any weight on his leg.

Then Embiid displayed some frustration with 44.2 seconds left in the quarter following a Lance Stephenson's basket that made it 83-77 Pacers. The Sixers center shoved the reserve guard in the back, drawing a technical foul.

The home squad pulled within two points (83-81) on Embiid's fadeway jumper with 10:41 left. The Pacers went on to extend their lead, again. The Sixers battled back into the game and nearly pulled out the victory.


(c)2018 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.