The Philadelphia 76ers will have the opportunity to figure out the Indiana Pacers and will get their first win against them.
The Philadelphia 76ers started their season just about how most of us expected them to as far as their overall record after six games. After losing their game to the Utah Jazz 104-89, things felt a bit dismal for the Sixers fans who seem to be getting antsy wondering when that first win will come.
The Sixers have, to the surprise of many, have had some close games. On opening night against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook, the Sixers lost the game on the last play. They were also in it until the last minute against the Orlando Magic (a game they should have won) and gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a run for their money, losing by just one point on Saturday.
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So, when will the first win be? While there are some more obvious even matches coming up against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns, it looks like the Sixers actually might have a really decent shot to beat the Indiana Pacers.
The next game the Sixers will play is on Wednesday in Indiana against the Pacers. The Sixers will likely return home the next morning and have a later practice before their game on Friday at home, which is against the Pacers yet again.
These occasional interesting blips in the schedule like this bring up an interesting dynamic. It’s not often that you get to play a team twice in a row.
Typically throughout the season, the more you play a team, the more you know what they will play like and the more you can build a solid game plan to counter their most solid parts. That same concept is evident here, but perhaps even stronger for the Sixers against the Pacers.
Going into the first game on Wednesday, the Sixers already have a decent shot at winning. The Pacers come into the game with a record of 3-4, and are coming off of a huge loss against the Charlotte Hornets where they fell by 22 points.
The Pacers have a pretty decent team on paper. Paul George and Jeff Teague are both decent players, but it just seems like he’s carrying the team on his back. He’s taking almost four more shots per game than anyone else on the team, and contributing 22 of the team’s 109 points per game.
Joel Embiid has three inches of height advantage over the Pacers’ starting center Myles Turner. Although Turner averages nearly three blocks per game, these games against the Pacers seem like huge opportunity games for Embiid. Al Jefferson is a decent defender in the key, but has only averaged about 15 minutes per game.
Even if the Sixers can’t muscle out a win in the first game, the Sixers should be able to get the second game. It will be a home game for the Sixers, and head coach Brett Brown and his staff will have some time to sit down and evaluate their opponent in length after playing them recently and with experience.
These two games will also be huge for Brett Brown, who has actually seen quite a bit of criticism come his way over the past few games for his slightly questionable decision making. It will be interesting to see if Brown can come up with an effective solution to stopping the Pacers’ best pieces in order to win the Sixers a game this week. Who knows, if Brown plays his cards just right, the Sixers could win two in a row, something they haven’t done since March 20, 2015.
Of course, the same could be argued for the Pacers. They may be able to figure out how to play well against the Sixers by Friday night’s matchup.
So what we will see on Friday night is a truly primed to perform game on both sides of the floor. The teams will know what the other team does best, and will have their own way of trying to counter it.