Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Tip: 7:00 p.m. EDT
TV: Check local listings
Line: IND -19.5
Much is on the line tonight when the Indiana Pacers play host to the Philadelphia 76ers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in a 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time matchup.
Philadelphia sits as the second-worst team in the NBA in the win-loss column, while Indiana trails San Antonio by one game for the best record in the league. The Pacers are favored to win by 19.5 points.
These two squads met on Friday night in Philly when the Pacers came away with the win, 101-94. The blue and gold had a double-digit lead more than once in the game, before the Sixers rallied late to pull within three points. However, Indiana went on a 7-0 run to take control.
First and foremost for the Indiana Pacers is avoiding a letdown. They are riding a three-game winning streak into tonight’s game, looking for a fourth straight win. On Saturday in the second night of a back-to-back in Detroit, the Pacers trailed by as many as 25 points in the first half. Indiana rallied for their biggest comeback of the year and escaped, 112-104, in overtime.
That confidence ought to carry over tonight against one of the league’s bottom dwellers.
Saturday’s win, as head coach Frank Vogel noted, was a total team effort at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Players said Vogel gave one of his most inspirational halftime speeches to get his guys motivated for the comeback.
Also on the line tonight is Philly’s losing streak. The 76ers have lost 20 in a row and are geared for the lottery in June’s NBA Draft.
The Pacers are striving for their 50th win of the season against the Sixers. They would become the second team this season to reach the 50-win plateau, as San Antonio has already accomplished the feat. It would also be a milestone for Vogel, who has yet to get 50 wins in a season since taking over as head coach in January 2011.
Indiana might have gotten there last year, but a game in Boston was cancelled over the weekend of the bombings during the Boston Marathon. The Pacers finished the regular season 49-32.
As far as health is concerned for the Indiana Pacers, C.J. Watson and Ian Mahinmi remain questionable with injuries. Watson is nursing a hamstring issue and Mahinmi is still dealing with an injury to his ribs. Donal Sloan is expected to return from a two-game personal absence, and will likely play some backup point guard minutes tonight.
The team is unsure whether or not Andrew Bynum will be available to play. Bynum scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Saturday’s win.
Expect Philadelphia to battle as they’re desperate for a win, but Indiana should pull away easily for a win, 105-85.
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Tags: Indiana Pacers