INDIANAPOLIS —The 76ers control their destiny more often than not.
They're solid when they're attacking, playing free while taking care of the ball. The problem is that the Sixers (7-5) don't do it every game — at least not for an entire four quarters.
"This is the Holy Grail of it all," coach Brett Brown said. "When their spirit is where it is most times, that competitive energy, that togetherness as a team, they're a good basketball team."
On those nights, the Sixers coexist well despite being undermanned because of injuries and the forced lineups that come from pairing non-shooters Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons in the starting backcourt.
Wednesday marked the first time they were able to sustain that energy on the road. It had a lot to do with the 100-94 decision over the Indiana Pacers being their first win away from the Wells Fargo Center.
They came into the contest with a 6-0 record at home and an 0-5 mark on the road. It easier to win at home when you can rely on a sold-out home crowd to provide a spark. It can become harder to sustain focus when things begin to unravel in a hostile road environment.
But certain circumstances Wednesday led to their being locked in.
The Sixers were coming off an embarrassing 122-97 road loss to the Brooklyn Nets. It was a game in which they looked more like a bunch of individuals than a team. And they headed into Wednesday's matchup realizing they would have to overcompensate for losing backup post player Mike Muscala to a broken nose. One could also argue that they didn't want to be embarrassed in a second straight game, especially with this one being on ESPN.
So instead of giving in to the pressure, the Sixers played loose and received contributions up and down the roster.
Joel Embiid's team highs of 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks overshadowed his five turnovers. Dario Saric broke out of his shooting slump by making 4 of 6 three-pointers to finish with 18 points. With 16 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 blocks, Simmons nearly posted a triple-double. Fultz had a career-high four steals. Landry Shamet continued to make big three-pointers.
"We played defense, getting stops," Embiid said. "You know, Dario hit shots and came back to himself. You have to give credit to Markelle for the run we had in the third and start of the fourth quarter."
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Embiid also praised Simmons and small forward Robert Covington, who finished with 13 points, two steals and two blocks hours after being listed as questionable with lower-back soreness.
"It was an overall good team win," Embiid said. "So we've got to keep building on it."
They'll got an opportunity to do just that with six games in their next nine days.