Preview: 76ers head west to face Pacers
With just a handful of games left in the regular season, the 76ers need to finish the season strong for good post-season seeding.
A great opportunity comes tonight against one of the worst teams in the conference, the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers are currently 25-54 on the season, and are obviously eliminated from any sort of post-season play. Indiana is on a seven-game losing streak heading into tonight’s action, and haven’t gotten to play the 76ers since mid-November. The last meeting between the two teams did see the Pacers take down an Embiid-less Sixers team on their home floor.
The 76ers are currently 48-30 on the season, just one win shy of matching their win total from last season. While the Sixers have played more games this season, winning 50 games in the regular season is no small feat. With that in mind, Philly is currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers are tied with the Bucks, who regained the tiebreaker after their win in South Philly a week ago, and a half-game back of Boston for the second seed.
- Malcolm Brogdon (Questionable)
- T.J. McConnell (Questionable)
- Goga Bitadze (Questionable)
- Chris Duarte (Out)
- Myles Turner (Out)
- T.J. Warren (Out)
- Ricky Rubio (Out)
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Embiid Scoring Title Race
Right now, Joel Embiid is just 0.07 average points behind Lebron James for the scoring title. The title has shifted multiple times throughout the season, mostly between Embiid, Giannis, and now King James.
To reclaim the scoring title, Embiid needs to have 35 or more points tonight against the Pacers. This is coming off a 44-point explosion against the Cavs over the weekend. With the injury report being so dense for the Pacers including Myles Turner, Indiana is going to have very limited and questionable options for guarding Embiid tonight.
The only true center on the Pacers roster right now is Goge Bitadze, past that the bench holds a ton of forwards that simply cannot match up with Embiid inside the arc. Unless Indiana’s plan is to routinely double and triple Embiid all game long, Joel has a very good shot at grabbing the scoring title especially with Lebron set to miss the Lakers game tonight.
Other Games to Watch
With the top of the East being so tight down the stretch, there are a couple other games that are worth at least checking in on as the 76ers play the Pacers.
The Heat will host the Hornets tonight, a team that is currently fighting for seeding in the play-in tournament with Brooklyn. Miami is currently two games up on the second-seeded Celtics, so a win would almost guarantee the first seed in the East. Both these teams will be on at least a day of rest and playing for playoff positioning. Sixer fans should keep an eye out to see if the Hornets can make the top of the East interesting with a win tonight.
Later in the evening, the Bucks will play their final game against the Bulls. Chicago has yet to win a game against the Bucks this season, and are currently slated to face off against the 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. Milwaukee is also 48-30 on the season, and the Sixers can’t rely on tiebreakers to jump them in the standings. The Bulls share an identical record with the surging Raptors, making a Chicago win vital for their seeding as well. For 76ers fans this game is worth checking in on to see if Philly can move up in the standings.
|Philadelphia 76ers||-11.5 (-110)||-700||O 234.5 (-110)|
|Indiana Pacers||+11.5 (-110)||+500||U 234.5 (-110)|
The 76ers have routinely lost embarrassing games to the worst teams in the East, the latest being the Pistons at the end of March, but this Pacers team is much different. Indiana seems to be limping to the end of the regular season, with half its roster out for this contest. I expect the Sixers to let some young role player like Oshae Brissett drop 30 on them to keep it interesting but ultimately come out with the win.
Mandatory Credit: Associated Press.\