76ers seek first win against Pacers (again)
The Philadelphia 76ers find themselves in a familiar position as they host the Indiana Pacers in the second game of a home-and-home set Friday night.
The Sixers, who lost their first 17 games in 2014-15 and their first 18 last season, remain the Eastern Conference’s lone winless team at 0-7, having dropped a 122-115 overtime game to the Pacers on Wednesday night in Indiana.
Philadelphia has also lost 44 straight October/November games dating back to an overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 22, 2013.
The Sixers led Wednesday’s game 109-107 when Philadelphia guard Gerald Henderson buried a 3-pointer from the right wing with 6.3 seconds remaining, but Pacers forward Paul George dropped in a baseline jumper with 3.9 seconds left to tie it. George then put his team ahead for good with a 3-pointer 41 seconds into the extra period. George scored seven of his 28 points in OT to lift Indiana to its 10th victory in its last 11 games against Philadelphia.
"I just was trying to have energy plays to kind of close out that overtime," George told the Indianapolis Star. "I thought, really, the final moments in the fourth quarter and overtime, that’s how we have to look."
Veteran point guard Jeff Teague, acquired from Atlanta in a three-team trade in the offseason, scored a season-high 30 points for the Pacers. After averaging 9.8 points on 24.6 percent shooting in his first five games, he is scoring 20 points a game on 57.9 percent accuracy in his last three.
"I just wanted to be aggressive and I stopped thinking so much and just played," he told the Star. "That was the biggest thing. I’ve been thinking a lot the first couple of games just trying to figure it out. I’ve been making it hard on myself."
Sixers coach Brett Brown, in his fourth season, set a franchise record for defeats with his 206th, in just 253 games. The previous record-holder was Larry Brown, who went 255-205 in six seasons in Philadelphia.
"The position that I have is so much more than that," Brett Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We are trying to grow a program with a bunch of 20-year-olds. I don’t even care about it nor think about it."
Forward Robert Covington led the Sixers with 23 points Wednesday, and like Teague is emerging from a slump. After shooting 16.7 percent from the floor in his first five games, he has made 57.1 percent of his attempts the last two, including eight of 13 3-pointers (61.5 percent).
Sixers center Joel Embiid, who missed his first two seasons as a result of two foot surgeries, rested Wednesday but is expected to play Friday. He averages a team-leading 17.6 points a game.
Philadelphia continues to be without forward Ben Simmons (broken foot), the draft’s top overall pick, as well as guard Jerryd Bayless (wrist) and center/forward Nerlens Noel (knee).