Unfortunately the Sixers will have to find a different guy to pace their scoring tonight. Jrue Holiday has been ruled out for tonight’s game with a left foot sprain. Coach Doug Collins said yesterday at practice that Evan Turner would be the primary point guard in Holiday’s absence. The Sixers won their most recent matchup and the teams have split their past eight meetings. Last year the 76ers were 1-1 at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. The winning team in the matchup has reached 100+ points in 10 of the last 12 games between the Pacers and 76ers. Close games seem to be falling in the Sixers favor this year as they are 3-0 in games decided by four points or fewer.
Who to Watch: Evan Turner. Turner has improved tremendously from his first two seasons. He is tied with Thaddeus Young for second on the team in scoring averaging 15.1 points per game. He has scored 11 or more points in each of the last 14 games dating back to November 16th. He had never scored 10+ points any longer than five straight games before. A large reason why he is scoring more is due to his improved outside shooting. He entered the season hitting just 25 3-pointers in his first two seasons and shooting just 26.9% from beyond the arc. This year he is shooting 44.7% on 17-of-38 shooting from 3-point range.
The Pacers are on their home court where they are always dangerous. They currently have a streak of 23 consecutive seasons in which they have a winning record at home. The Pacers are a remarkable 40-18 in their last 58 games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They are coming off of a 96-81 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in which they pounded the Cavaliers in the paint. The Pacers outscored the Cavs 40-16 in the paint, which just so happens to be a weak point for the Sixers. Luckily the Pacers rank 26th out of 30 teams in points in the paint.
Who to Watch: David West. The 6’9” power forward leads the Pacers in scoring (17.5 points per game) and rebounding (8.6 rebounds per game). The former Hornet is in his second season in Indianapolis. After a down season last year, he seems to be more comfortable. West has scored 10 or more points in 13 straight games also dating back to November 16th (same night as Evan Turner). On Wednesday, he put up what he averages by scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds but he also dished out a team high seven assists. West can do it all from the forward position which makes him so tough to defend.
Tipoff is slated for 7:00 pm in Indianapolis. The game can be seen on Comcast Sportsnet and heard on 97.5 The Fanatic.
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