Pacers End Year With Rout Of 76ers
Pacers End Year With Rout Of 76ers
Joe Robbins | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – The pre-game injury news took some energy out of the Pacers and 76ers meeting for a second time this season.
But the Pacers made sure those in Bankers Life Fieldhouse brought plenty of energy in a New Year’s eve matinee on Tuesday.
Indiana dominated the 76ers, who were playing without Joel Embiid, leading by as many as 36 points, and capping the 2019 year with a 115-97 victory over their Eastern Conference rivals.
“We played great basketball – 21 assists at halftime and we finished with 35,” Nate McMillan said after the rout. “We established our defense, got stops, and were able to get into transition. With 35 assists we were making their defense move and work, and we were knocking down a high percentage of our shots. I just loved the tempo we established at the defensive end of the floor as well as the offensive end.”
Of course, the Pacers were without Victor Oladipo, and a back injury took Malcolm Brogdon (0-for-5) off the floor after just 8 minutes.
Indiana took off with a 17-2 run to start the second quarter and the lead never got close to shrinking under double digits the rest of the way.
Domantas Sabonis led the scoring with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
T.J. Warren was nearly perfect from the field, hitting on 9-of-11 shots and scoring 21 points.
The pesky and productive Indiana bench received 17 assists and 2 turnovers from ball handlers T.J. McConnell and Aaron Holiday.
With the win, the Pacers (22-12) are now 1-1 against the 76ers (23-13) this season.
The Pacers have now won 6 straight games at home.
Three Things Learned
-T.J. Warren Continues To Show Up: A lot is on the shoulders of T.J. Warren as the main wing presence for the Pacers. Warren delivered in a big on Tuesday, scoring all 21 of his points in the first half, while not missing a shot from the field. It was a fair question to wonder if Warren could maintain his scoring production, and shooting renaissance on a much better team in Indiana. He’s done that, by averaging 17.8 points per game, shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and 37.2 percent from behind the arc. The most important part of Warren’s game this season? His availability. He has yet to miss a game, which has been so needed considering all the injuries around him. Before this season, Warren had missed at least 16 games in every NBA season.
-Hard To Evaluate Things: Seeing all the injuries (for not only the Pacers, but even other teams right now) is painting a blurry picture when it comes to trying to project the Pacers forward. Look at this win over the 76ers with Joel Embiid and Victor Oladipo out, plus Malcolm Brogdon playing just 8 minutes. Those are easily 3 of the most important players for these two teams. Considering that the Pacers will likely be re-integrating Oladipo at some point in the next month or so, it’s going to be really hard to see just what this team will look like come April. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the Pacers develop in the coming months, as we still haven’t seen the lineup/rotation that will be there in the playoffs.
-Positive Step In Beating The Elite: With the runaway win over the 76ers, the Pacers ended the month of December by going 4-3 over the ‘elite’ teams on the schedule. This was an important stretch that Nate McMillan even pointed out earlier in the month. While we can argue about what this sort of record means for the long-term outlook the rest of the season, the record is still a positive step forward. The Pacers beat some of the best teams in the league, helped themselves out in a couple of key tiebreaker situations and continue to look like a team who should be in the mix for one of the final homecourt seeds.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-Nuggets 1/2 (Thursday)
-at Hawks 1/4 (Saturday)
-at Hornets 1/6 (Monday)
-Heat 1/8 (Wednesday)
-at Bulls 1/10 (Friday)