Dario Saric

Sixers' home mystique wears off in latest test

Sixers' home mystique wears off in latest test


There were playoff implications on the line between the Sixers and Pacers — and it showed.

The Sixers (36-30) lost, 101-98, to the Pacers (40-28) in one of their more intense matchups of the season. Tensions ran high as technical fouls were called, whistles were contested, and one player left the court injured. 

The Sixers entered the night only two games behind the Pacers in the standings. If the playoffs had begun Tuesday, the Sixers and Pacers would have been matched up in a 3-6 series. The Sixers could have closed the gap with a win that could have impacted the fight for home-court advantage. 

• The Pacers snapped the Sixers' impressive 13-game win streak at the Wells Fargo Center. They had not lost in Philadelphia since Dec. 21, 2017, against the Raptors. The arena was quiet as fans filed out. 

• Joel Embiid worked on his highlight reel, throwing down monster dunks. He led all players with a 29-point, 12-rebound double-double. He attempted (and missed) a game-tying three with six seconds left. 

• The Sixers didn’t do themselves any favors with 12 first-half turnovers. They committed a total of 21 in the game, giving up 29 points. Embiid accounted for eight of the errors. The Pacers, meanwhile, only committed 10 as a team. 

• The Sixers were prepared for Lance Stephenson (11 points, four rebounds, three assists) to be a spark plug for the second unit. 

“Lance coming off a bench is lightning in a bottle possibly,” Brett Brown said. 

They should have expected him to be feisty, too. That’s been his M.O. his entire career. Stephenson wasn’t shy to mix things up with the Sixers, including drawing a tech on Embiid. 

• The Pacers pulled off the win in spite of an off night from All-Star guard Victor Oladipo. He shot 4 for 21 from the field and scored only 11 points. 

• Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis suffered a left ankle sprain when Embiid was pushed by Trevor Booker under the basket and then landed on his ankle. Sabonis was helped off the court by his teammates, who were visibly bothered by how the injury occurred. 

• Brent Celek, Brian Westbrook and Freddie Mitchell were at the game sitting courtside near actor Michael B. Jordan. 

Sixers could be down starter tonight vs. Pacers

USA Today Images

Sixers could be down starter tonight vs. Pacers

CAMDEN, N.J. -- The Sixers could be down a starter Tuesday against the playoff contending Pacers.

Dario Saric is questionable because of gastroenteritis. He showed up to shootaround but was sent home. Saric has played in all but one game this season, becoming a dependable scorer in the starting five. He is averaging 17.8 points and 7.2 rebounds this month. 

If Saric does not play, Ersan Ilyasova could get the nod. Ilyasova started 40 games for the Sixers last season. The veteran stayed late on the court after shootaround to work on fundamentals, including shooting free throws off one foot, staying locked in during his 10th NBA season.

Joel Embiid received treatment and massage during shootaround, not injury related but rather to keep him ready and rested for the game. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot also is questionable because of right knee patellar tendinitis. 

The available Sixers will need to bring their A-game against the Pacers, who have exceeded expectations following the trade of Paul George. If the playoffs started today, the Pacers (39-28) and Sixers (36-29) would face off in a 3-6 first round pairing. 

"I feel like certain people have maybe waited for them to come down all season," JJ Redick said. "They're not coming down. They're a great basketball team."

Markelle Fultz and Furkan Korkmaz remain out. Fultz went through free throw drills following shootaround. Watch the progress of his form here: 

What rest? Joel Embiid looks himself again in Brooklyn

What rest? Joel Embiid looks himself again in Brooklyn


NEW YORK — There was no letdown game at Barclays Center.

The Sixers defeated the Nets, 120-97, to improve to 36-29 against their 22-46 struggling opponent. They had been focused on avoiding the “easy” schedule talk and getting comfortable, especially since they had lost to the Nets in their first meeting of the season.

• With eyes on Joel Embiid to see if he needs a rest game, the big man reached 20 points for the first time in his last four contests. Embiid finished with 21 points (9 for 17 from the field) and eight rebounds in 26 minutes. His highlight moment was a monster block against DeMarre Carroll.

• D’Angelo Russell once again did damage against the Sixers. The 2015 second-overall pick scored a game-high 26 points, including 4 of 5 from three. He followed up dropping 22 points in 17 minutes off the bench in the Nets’ Jan. 31 win over the Sixers.

• T.J. McConnell was everywhere. The stat line won’t reflect his hustle moves, but the pesky point guard had his hands in just about every play possible. McConnell scored 10 points with four rebounds, six assists and four steals in a bench-high 29 minutes.

• Former Sixer Jahlil Okafor got in a run against the Sixers. After not playing in the last eight games, he logged six minutes. Okafor moved a lot better than he did with the Sixers, including a drive past Robert Covington.

• Brett Brown changed up the second unit and played Richaun Holmes ahead of Amir Johnson at backup center. While he had been going with Johnson, McConnell, Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova off the bench as of late, the reserves are not set in stone.

“When you try to keep people alive, you try to give some of your high-minute guys rest, and you’re trying to move up the food chain and move up the Eastern Conference standings to get as high a seed as you can, that ecosystem is a little bit fragile,” Brown said. “Determining rotations and perfect pairings is a part of all that.”

• The bench was able to keep the Nets at a distance in the fourth to give the starters a break. Embiid, Dario Saric, JJ Redick and Ben Simmons barely played in the final quarter.

The Sixers had ball movement down. They dished 33 assists compared to 17 by the Nets. It was a team effort, too. Simmons and McConnell had six apiece with Holmes adding five and Robert Covington four.

• Nets mainstay Mr. Whammy was very satisfied with his performance heckling the Sixers at the free throw line: They shot 11 of 18.