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.
Tuesday jammin'.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 14, 2018
Joel puts up this monster slam, with the bench and the fans approval to get this to a three point game. pic.twitter.com/yfWzEGQxbz
• 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.