76ers (32-30, won last 1) @ Pacers (41-22, won last 7)
* 43.07 rpg (8th) vs. 43.66 rebounds allowed (24th)
* 21.92 apg (10th) vs. 11.21 TO pg (1st)
* 97.67 ppg (12th) vs. 94.18 points allowed (9th)
* 43.9% FG (23rd) vs. 43.3% FG allowed (6th)
* 43.75 rppg (5th) vs. 42.17 rebounds allowed (17th)
* 18.56 appg (29th) vs. 14.10 TO pg (9th)
PG-Jrue Holiday vs. George Hill
SG-Jodie Meeks vs. Paul George
SF-Andre Iguodala vs. Danny Granger
PF-Elton Brand vs. David West
C-Nicola Vucevic vs. Roy Hibbert
Philadelphia-Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen, Louis Williams, Spencer Hawes
Indiana-Tyler Hansbrough, Leandro Barbosa, Dahntay Jones, Lou Amundson
Injuries of note
Indiana-Darren Collison (groin, out)
In their last meeting, just this last Tuesday, these two teams kept it close. It took a surge in the fourth quarter for the Pacers to eek out a victory. They entered the final period tied, after having blown their 5-point halftime lead in the third, and even falling behind for stretches in the third quarter, as they failed to convert on shot after shot.
Philadelphia is just as physical, athletic and lengthy on the perimeter as they were earlier this week, but this time their backs are against the wall, as they’ve yet to secure a playoff spot. They can clinch with a win tonight and a Buck loss. But if the opposite happens, they’ll be forced into a high-pressure final week. You can bet they’d like to go ahead and win tonight and get their foot firmly secured in that playoff door.
As we saw last time, these two teams will duke it out. The Pacers were more effective offensively and looked generally more comfortable (except for a few key stretches) setting the tone and dictating the game’s pace. If that happens tonight, expect another Indiana victory. The Sixers will have to keep it slow and focus on locking down Roy Hibbert, who’s been a man among boys lately. Easier said than done, as most of Hibbert’s recent opponents have figured out. Danny Granger and David West are also both very hot, and the Sixers have seen first-hand how effective George Hill (now the permanent starter) is running the first team. Philly has its work cut out for them, and Indiana, the hottest team in the league, won’t be backing down anytime soon. Should be a nice matchup.
Prediction: Pacers 91, 76ers 85
The Bucks were the only team during this current win-streak that had managed 100 points vs. Indiana; and they still lost. The Sixers can’t score with that sort of regularity, and probably don’t want to. The slower game suits them. On defense, Philly will do its best to lock down Granger, who burned them for 24 points on 6-8 three point shooting on Tuesday. That likely won’t happen again, but the Pacers should be able to find other ways to get it done tonight.
Lucas Klipsch believes in justice. Follow him on Twitter @LukeNukem317