Starting with the health of their top playmaker, the
Philadelphia 76ers have some concerns as they head into one of the
toughest portions of their schedule.
It might not be the best time to face the Indiana Pacers, who
are coming off a historic defensive performance.
The 76ers will try to get off to a strong start with 12 of their
next 15 games on the road as they visit the defensive-minded Pacers
on Friday night.
After a 4-2 start on the road, Philadelphia (12-10) has lost its
last two contests away from home and four of six overall following
a 96-89 loss to Chicago on Wednesday night.
Jrue Holiday led Philadelphia with 26 points and nine assists,
giving him 51 and 17, respectively, in his last two games.
Holiday, however, was diagnosed with a left foot sprain
following the loss and is a game-time decision against the
“It’s very disconcerting,” coach Doug Collins said on
Holiday has missed only one game since becoming the starting
point guard in the 2009-10 season. That came last season when
Collins rested most of his starters in a 108-86 loss at Detroit in
the regular-season finale.
This season, Holiday is having a career year for the 76ers. He’s
averaging a team-high 18.4 points and ranks near the top of the NBA
at 8.9 assists per game. The 2009 first-round pick had 17 points in
both games at Indiana last season, and the teams split four games
“He’s a big part of what we’re doing,” guard Jason Richardson
said. “He’s our leading scorer and a guy who gets us into
If Holiday is unable to play, Evan Turner would handle most of
the point guard responsibilities.
Turner, who had 16 points against the Bulls, has been a
distributor from the forward spot with at least five assists in
seven of 22 contests. He has committed more than three turnovers
Thaddeus Young also looks to continue to his strong play,
averaging 18.1 points on 56.8 percent shooting in his last 10
Philadelphia will take any spark they can get, scoring 86.0
points per game in its last four losses while averaging 102.2 over
its last six victories.
“We just have to continue to execute and put our pulse on the
game early,” Young said. “If we do that, we’ll be fine.”
It doesn’t figure to be easy against the Pacers (11-11), who
held Cleveland to 23 second-half points in a 96-81 victory on
It was the fewest points the Pacers allowed in a half since they
joined the NBA in 1976. They held the Cavaliers to 8 of 41 shooting
(19.5 percent) in the final two quarters while avoiding a third
Indiana leads the league in defensive field-goal percentage
(40.9) and ranks near the top in points allowed (91.3).
“We were contesting all of their shots and that’s what made it
tough for them,” guard Paul George said after the win.
George has had the hot hand offensively for Indiana, averaging
24.4 points while shooting 15 for 28 from beyond the arc over his
last five games.
“He’s becoming a special player and we have to hope that
continues,” coach Frank Vogel said.
Still, the Pacers haven’t scored 100 points in their last 12
games and rank near the bottom of the NBA in scoring at 91.0 points
However, they could get a boost from David West, who averaged
25.0 points in two home games against the 76ers last season.