The Indiana Pacers are currently sitting fourth in the East, despite not having their all-star shooting guard Victor Oladipo to help them. It’s been a tough go for the Pacers of late, but maintaining their home court has been a massive help.
The Pacers are going up against a dangerous Sixers team that is rife with options at every position. The Pacers will find strength in their depth as the Sixers, after losing Covington and Saric, are still searching for options when their stars hit the bench.
The Philadelphia 76ers are sitting third in the Eastern conference, just two games behind the first place Toronto Raptors. After losing to the Raptors away from home, the Sixers took a home and home from the Detroit Pistons and are surely looking to continue their momentum against the Pacers.
The Sixers want to establish the hierarchy in the East and a win over the Indiana Pacers will help with that. With Jimmy Butler out with a groin strain, it will be Joel Embiid who will shoulder the scoring load for the Sixers against the tough Pacer defence.
In 176 games, the Philadelphia 76ers lead the all-time series against the Indiana Pacers 98-78. In terms of playoff series, the teams are tied 2-2.
Should the Philadelphia 76ers win this game, they would leap frog the Milwaukee Bucks for second place in the East and be a step closer to taking the top spot from the Toronto Raptors.
Should the Indiana Pacers win this match, they would likely stay in the same spot but gain a game buffer over the Boston Celtics who are right on their tail.
Should the Sixers look even deeper into their bench?
Why have the Pacers succeeded without Oldaipo?
We’re going to compare the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers in an attempt to see who has the advantage.
It’s grown rather frustrating for the Philadelphia 76ers bench supporters. There was hope at the beginning of the season but with Fultz out indefinitely and Covington and Saric out, the balance has been off for a while.
The bench unit ranks 22nd in the league in bench points and is currently being criticized for their inability to stay in games when the starters go out. Landry Shamet has been better than advertised but the trade off is Jimmy Butler is now out until future notice due to a groin injury. Perhaps the Sixers will dip into their reserves by letting their two-ways have a chance.
Shake Milton has been averaging twenty-two points, five rebounds, and three assists in the G-League. He’s a talented scorer and has the length and athleticism to be a solid defender. With the breakout of Alonzo Trier in New York, the Sixers should make it a point to give their own two-way a chance.
This isn’t to say that the Pacers are better without Oladipo. However without Oladipo the Pacers have gone toward a run and gun offence to fill the void. Increases in overall pace and defence are what have helped lead the Pacers to 7-4 without their star.
Rebounding has actually been a point of pride for the Pacers since Oladipo went out. Four players have increased their rebounding averages since Oladipo went down—Sabonis, Turner, Collison, Holiday, and Joseph all jump on the boards in an attempt to get the break started and it has worked.
The Sixers are an athletic team but 48 minutes of the Pacers breaking down the court is sure to challenge the young Sixers. Look for the Pacers to gang-rebound to keep Embiid off the boards, while also looking for a quick outlet for quick points.
G Victor Oladipo practiced with the team and is officially listed as questionable after suffering a knee injury.
G-F Jimmy Butler has a strained groin and is unlikely to play.
G Demetrius Jackson is listed as day-to-day with a sprained toe.
G Markelle Fultz is out indefinitely with a shoulder issue.
G Zhaire Smith is targeting a 2019 return from a foot injury.
C Justin Patton is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Bojan Bogdanovic has been keeping the Pacers afloat since Oladipo has been out and was a great support for the Pacers even when he was in the lineup. Averaging a career high of 16.6 points per game, Bogdanovic has been an absolute gunner all season. Converting 52% from the field and 49% from three, Bogdanovic has proven that given space he will make you pay.
Bogdanovic has been an absolute sniper and the Sixers are sure to key in on that. Don’t be surprised to see the Sixers sic their most dogged defenders to keep him from getting hot.
In his thirteenth season in the NBA JJ Redick has never been more productive, more incredible for the Philadelphia 76ers. Now averaging 18.4 points per game while knocking down 35% of his shots from three, JJ Redick is an absolute weapon on spot-ups and coming off screens.
The biggest hole in Redick’s game may not be one at all, but the truth of his scoring is that 81% of his field goals are assisted, 74% of his two-pointers, and 88% of his three-pointers. If the Pacers have a defender that can chase Redick off of his spots, the Sixers would be down one of their most dangerous assets.
The odds makers have the Philadelphia 76ers favoured over the Indiana Pacers by 4.5, with an over/under of 109.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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