76ers

Sixers at Pacers: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers at Pacers: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Updated: 6:20 p.m.

The Sixers (25-15) are coming off a rough loss and are looking for a measure of revenge against the Pacers (24-15) Monday night.

Just like in the beatdown the Sixers took in Indiana a couple weeks ago, the team will be without Joel Embiid as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn radial collateral ligament in his left ring finger. 

Malcolm Brogdon (strep throat) and Domantas Sabonis (sore left knee) are both starting after being listed as questionable. The Pacers are still without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo (right knee), who is planning to return at the end of the month.

Here are the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia+
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch: 

More accountability?

The last time these teams met on New Year’s Eve, it wasn’t pretty. The Sixers found out they’d be without Embiid not long before tip-off and his teammates sleepwalked in a 115-97 drubbing.

After the game, Josh Richardson voiced his displeasure, telling reporters there was a lack of “accountability” in the locker room.

The message was received, and his head coach and teammates agreed with the sentiment. Since the comments, the team is 2-2, but has shown signs of life with nice wins over the surprising Thunder and the rival Celtics.

Effort didn’t appear to be the issue in Dallas Saturday. We’ll see which Sixers team shows up Monday.

The Pacers have been banged up and had to start former Sixers T.J. McConnell and JaKarr Sampson in their win over the Bulls Friday. Indiana has lost three of four, but the Sixers’ road woes have continued (7-13).

The flaw we all saw coming

The Sixers let JJ Redick walk in the offseason. He had two of the best seasons of his career in Philly, averaging 17.6 points a game and shooting 40.7 percent on 7.3 attempts from three.

GM Elton Brand never gave an exact reason for not re-signing Redick. Money was surely a factor, but it also appeared that Brand was focused on defense. We’ve seen teams expose Redick on that end, especially in the postseason.

With the said, this team is clearly lacking shooting. The Sixers are 12th in the NBA in three-point percentage. That’s obviously not a terrible number, but they’re 25th in terms of attempts per game.

The bottom line is this team needs to take and make more threes. On Saturday against the Mavs, they were 9 of 37 … and it took them going 5 of 10 in the fourth quarter when the game was pretty much over to get there.

This team was built to be a defensive bully, but they still need to score. For the Sixers’ offense to be at its best with both Embiid and Ben Simmons on the floor, they need to be surrounded by shooters.

The trade deadline is Feb. 6. Brand will likely have work to do — especially if there are more shooting performances like Saturday's.

Need more from Simmons

Speaking of the lack of shooting, you could see how that affected Simmons in the second half in Dallas. The Sixers’ point guard went scoreless (0 of 4, three turnovers) after halftime when Dallas steamrolled them. 

When the team isn’t hitting shots around him, it exacerbates all of Simmons’ issues in the half court. It also seems like the team’s shooting woes occasionally leak into its defense. When the Sixers aren't getting stops, that limits their transition opportunities, which severely reduces Simmons’ effectiveness offensively.

Simmons obviously has his issues with his unwillingness to shoot. When his teammates are throwing up bricks and not turning the opponent over, it limits Simmons’ imprint on a game.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

'It's a gift and a curse' — Steve Nash shares his thoughts on Ben Simmons

'It's a gift and a curse' — Steve Nash shares his thoughts on Ben Simmons

On the surface, Steve Nash and Ben Simmons don’t have a ton in common. 

Nash, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, shot 42.8 percent from three-point range and 90.4 percent from the foul line in his NBA career. Simmons’ shooting is not a strength.

However, the two chatted Saturday night at Madison Square Garden after Simmons’ 21-point, eight-assist performance in the Sixers’ win over the Knicks (see observations).

Simmons told reporters he talked with Nash, a co-owner of the MLS’ Vancouver Whitecaps FC, about soccer.

“He was such a great leader, a competitive spirit,” Simmons said. “Just watching highlights and some of his games, the way he played, he was just relentless. He played through anything." 

Nash sees a lot to admire in Simmons’ game, too. He said he thinks Simmons is worthy of being an All-Star for the second straight season.

Ben’s a generational talent. Crazy athlete, can play multiple positions on offense and defense. Obviously his glaring weakness is the shooting, but he’s so gifted that he can make up for it in other ways, and it’s about finding a way for him to be at his best for this group. And that’s a challenge for this club, is how do all the pieces fit together? Ben’s ability at both ends of the floor is unique and he’s a special, special player. 

“I wouldn’t put it past him to become a reliable shooter at some stage in his career, but he still does so many things at both ends of the floor that if you could find a way as an organization to promote that, you have an incredible, incredible piece. That is a huge challenge — how do all the pieces fit? … I think it’s something that Brett [Brown] and everyone are working through every day. It’s a gift and a curse.

Though his game isn’t much like Nash’s, Simmons said he can still take a lot from the 2004-05 NBA MVP. 

“He’s a legend, so definitely,” Simmons said. “I definitely want to talk to him and pick up things.”

Nash was asked whether Simmons can keep going as an infrequent jump shooter. 

“He can, in the right environment,” Nash said. “If he can figure out how to make some shots in some parts of the court, it can change everything. … He can do so many things. He can change positions four or five times in a game. That in itself is huge. So, how do you absorb that? That’s the challenge. Like I said, it’s a gift and a curse, and they’ll have to figure that out.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Tobias Harris trolls Ben Simmons before and after Sixers' win

Tobias Harris trolls Ben Simmons before and after Sixers' win

There are probably quite a few people that would like to be Ben Simmons.

Tobias Harris took that a step further before the Sixers game Saturday night against the Knicks, rocking Simmons' expensive looking neckwear.

The Sixers sweated out a win and snapped their six-game road losing streak at Madison Square Garden Saturday (see observations). Harris had a rough night, going 5 of 13 overall, but he did hit a huge three with 28.2 seconds left off a Simmons’ inbounds pass to give the Sixers a two-point lead.

“I was just trying to get it in,” Simmons told reporters postgame. “I don’t think we had any timeouts left, so I’m glad he came to the ball and put up a great shot. He made it look good.”

The chemistry between the two seems to be paying off on the court.

“He’s locked in,” Simmons said. “He’s been aggressive taking shots. We want him to keep shooting the ball and taking those open looks. He’s a great player."

Postgame, Harris went back into Simmons mode.

The team also had a little fun with Harris’ “Fresh Prince” impersonation.

Simmons had a big night, posting 20 points for the fourth straight game — the first time in his career he's done so. The duo of Harris and Simmons also combined for the biggest defensive play of the game, trapping Julius Randle and causing a turnover with 7.6 seconds left.

Even though Harris accidentally gave Simmons a smack in the face in his haste while celebrating.

The Sixers have won three games in a row and it looks like they’re having fun again.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers