Another tough road test on tap for Sixers, this time against Pacers
The Sixers will face the Indiana Pacers Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where they've lost eight straight.
One could argue this is the worst time for the 76ers to visit the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
But coach Brett Brown and All-Star center Joel Embiid say the opposite.
"To be able to reload against one of the big boys in the East, it's a good compass, a good litmus test to figure out who we are, where we are," Brown said. "We aren't happy with the moment. … But it's as good to give us life as anything."
The Sixers dropped to 6-5 following Sunday's 122-97 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. They have lost all five of this season's games on the road at Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee, Toronto, and Brooklyn.
Now, the Sixers must face the Pacers (7-4) at 8 p.m. Wednesday in a nationally televised game on ESPN in an arena where they've lost their last eight visits. Philly's last road win at Indiana came on April 17, 2013.
That coupled with this season's overall road woes would make getting a much-needed win more enjoyable.
"They are a tough team," Embiid said of the Pacers. "They are a playoff team. So we got to play better than [in Sunday's loss]."
The Sixers might want to start by making sure Embiid gets more than his season-low eight shot attempts against the Nets. Embiid made four of them en route to finishing with 16 points to go with a game-high 15 rebounds, a team-high four assists, one block and five turnovers.
He had scored 39, 41 and 31 points while averaging 23.6 shot attempts in his previous three games. As a team, the Sixers committed a season-high 28 turnovers, which led to 39 Brooklyn points.
Embiid must be heavily involved offensively and the Sixers must cut down on the turnovers to beat the Pacers.
Indiana is paced by All-Star shooting guard Victor Oladipo, who averages 23 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals. He had scored 20 or more points in 10 straight games.
The Sixers may have their hands full with the 2017-18 NBA most improved player, who also garnered All-NBA third-team and NBA All-Defensive first-team honors last season.
Oladipo is a product of DeMatha Catholic High School (Maryland), which also produced Sixers combo guard Markelle Fultz.
However, the game's most intriguing matchup will involve Embiid and Pacers center Myles Turner. The 6-foot-11, 255-pound Turner has been a matchup problem for Embiid in the past, because of his ability to step out and make shots in the perimeter and his rim protection.
He had 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting – making two of four three-pointers in a victory over the Sixers on March 13 at Wells Fargo Center. That marked the Sixers' last regular-season home loss, dating back to last season.
Turner ranks fourth in the league in blocked shots per game, at 2.45, while averaging 11.7 points and 4.9 rebounds.
Former Sixer Thad Young and Chester native standout Tyreke Evans play for the Pacers.
Renowned shooting coach Drew Hanlen is drawing criticism over Fultz's shooting woes. The first-overall pick of the 2017 draft spent the entire summer working out with Hanlen in Los Angeles. Hanlen proclaimed back then that Fultz would be an NBA All-Star this season if fully healthy.
Well, Fultz is far from playing at an All-Star level, shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and 30.8 percent on three-pointers.
Hanlen has received criticism on social media for overhyping Fultz, who hasn't displayed major improvements.
Well, he created a buzz Monday by claiming Fultz is "still not healthy," while defending himself in a now-deleted tweet. According to sources, Fultz is physically healthy. However, it's no secret that his shooting woes are mental.