The Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers are sitting right next to each other in the standings, which means their upcoming game is going to have some extra spice in it. The Pacers currently hold a 2-1 lead in the regular season series.
HOME TEAM: Indiana Pacers (39-26, 21-11 at home)
The good news for the Pacers is that Victor Oladipo seems to be leaning toward playing in the NBA restart. While nothing is set in stone yet with regards to his status, the fact that Dipo played 28 minutes in a recent scrimmage is a great sign.
If Oladipo ends up deciding against playing, the Pacers at least have the depth to take care of business. Take for example TJ Warren, who’s been playing well this season, especially against the Sixers. Warren has averaged 23.7 points while shooting 65.1% from the field in the Pacers’ last three games against Philadelphia. Warren helped Indiana score a 101-95 home win against the Sixers last January by putting up 21 points.
Malcolm Brogdon also had 21 points to go with seven rebounds and nine assists in a total display of mastery in the backcourt. The duo needs to keep it up even if Oladipo returns as Domantas Sabonis is currently out with a foot injury.
ROAD TEAM: Philadelphia 76ers (39-26, 10-24 on the road)
The top priority for the 76ers right now is to get Joel Embiid healthy enough to play right away. The hulking Cameroonian apparently is having issues with his back, which forced him to miss the scrimmage last Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the event that Embiid will not be ready to play against the Pacers, the 76ers will likely turn to veteran Al Horford to start at the center position. Horford started when the 76ers defeated Indiana last December at home, 119-116. He scored 15 points and hit three 3-pointers. His ability to stretch the floor and make smart plays on both ends of the floor make him quite an asset for Philly. However, Horford will have to play center when he’s on the floor with Ben Simmons, as the latter is now playing the power forward position. Simmons also had 15 points to go with 13 assists in the win over Indiana.
Philly’s experiment with Ben Simmons playing in the PF slot seems to be getting great reviews. Without Domantas Sabonis, the Pacers could have trouble covering Simmons up front, especially with his ability to create offense with his passing. The Sixers will win this game, 112-107.