Pacers head to Philly looking to keep last-place 76ers winless
Perhaps the Philadelphia 76ers have a decent chance to finally win since their next opponent will be without its second-leading scorer.
The problem is that Paul George is back for the Indiana Pacers, and he doesn’t look like he has missed a beat.
George and the Pacers will have to overcome the absence of George Hill when they go on the road to face the league’s worst team Wednesday night.
Once again, Philadelphia is the last remaining winless team with its 0-11 start six defeats shy of its franchise-worst start from last season. The 76ers, who have dropped 21 straight dating to last season, had a chance to prevail Monday before being outscored 11-4 over the final 3:23 of a 92-86 home loss to Dallas.
"We’ve got to do a better job executing down the stretch to close out a game," coach Brett Brown said. "That’s part of growing up."
Philadelphia is averaging a league-worst 90.6 points while committing the most turnovers with an average of 18.0. The 76ers had a season-high 27 turnovers Monday.
Indiana (6-5) has been thrilled with the return of George, who played only six games last season after recovering from his broken right leg suffered Aug. 1, 2014. He has scored at least 26 in seven straight games, averaging 28.9 points and hitting 51.1 percent from 3-point range.
"I have confidence in myself that this is the level I should be playing at regardless against which team or who is guarding me," George said.
The Pacers played without Hill for the first time in Monday’s 96-95 loss at Chicago. Hill, averaging 14.0 points, did not travel on this two-game trip due to an upper respiratory infection.
C.J. Miles shifted to shooting guard with forward Chase Budinger making his first start. Miles had 19 points, but Budinger went scoreless. Indiana was also without guard Rodney Stuckey for a third straight game with a sprained right ankle.
Coach Frank Vogel also gave extended action to rookie Joe Young, who had five points in 12 minutes after making just two scoreless appearances prior to the contest.
George scored 26 points, though his potential winning shot attempt as time expired fell short as he was defended well by Jimmy Butler.
"It is my job to help lead this team to a win," George said. "I failed to do so tonight."
The 76ers have received back-to-back double-doubles from Jahlil Okafor, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds against the Mavericks. He leads all rookies with 19.2 points per game and averages 7.6 boards.
Philadelphia’s T.J. McConnell enters on the heels of a 13-point, six-assist performance. He leads all rookie point guards with 6.9 assists per game.
With limited firepower, the Sixers are hoping to steal a win behind a defense that has limited opponents to 39.5 percent shooting in the last three games – down from 46.0 percent in the first eight.
"I’m thrilled with our defense," Brown said. "I think there’s a toughness we’re showing. There is an attitude where we’re not going away."
Indiana took three of four from Philadelphia last season without George.