Myles Turner scored 25 points, and the Indiana Pacers became the first team to defeat the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in 2018, downing Philadelphia 101-98 Tuesday night.
The Texas product got off to a hot start, knocking down his first two shots and scoring the Pacers' first five points. He would finish the first quarter with ten points, and add six more before halftime. Turner battled 76ers' center Joel Embiid for a majority of the night, as a third big man in three games got the better of Embiid while possessing the ball. In turn, Embiid struggled in the first half, getting bodied frequently by the leaner Turner, scoring just nine points in the opening 24 minutes.
The 76ers would use a a quick 8-0 swing midway through the first quarter to take the lead, 14-9, but the Pacers would come back with 14 consecutive of their own to regain the lead, 23-14. The 76ers would never recapture control, trailing or tied the final 40 minutes of play. That big run by Indiana was paced primarily by 76ers' turnovers, of which Philadelphia had six in the first quarter.
The turnover woes would not abandon the 76ers throughout the night, as the team finished with 21 in the game. Indiana converted those turnovers into 27 points. In contrast, the 76ers scored just ten points of Pacers' turnover, which in a three point contest, made all the difference. 76ers' Head Coach Brett Brown discussed the turnover concerns in his post game press conference.
"Some were self-inflicted. I'd be curious to go back and look at the tape to see how many happened in the first three to four seconds," Brown said.
At the end of one quarter, the Pacers jumped out to a 33-23 lead.
The 76ers would spend the rest of the game playing catch up, winning two of the final three quarters, and tying with Indiana for the third, but the ten point deficit would be too much to overcome.
The game's physicality would ramp up in the second quarter, as Ben Simmons was called for a foul after he made contact with Lance Stephenson. The foul would be called a common foul, as Simmons arm length was the culprit of the foul, but it set the tone for the remainder of the contest. Philadelphia would use the momentum of the contact to go on a 12-5 run to cut the Indiana lead to four, 48-44, with just over five minutes to play in the first half. That run was propelled by a handful of three pointers off three different 76ers's hand, each set up by an assist. In fact, the 76ers would record an assist on 14 of 15 field goals in the second half.
The Pacers' lead would swell to seven points with less than a minute to play, but, as has become customary in recent games, J.J. Redick wasn't finished shooting until the halftime buzzer sounded. Redick knocked down one of his four made three pointers on the night with three seconds left on the clock.
@JJRedick + three right before halftime = high-fives. https://t.co/BJxPPCJD1q
Redick would finish the night with 16 points on six on ten shooting.
As the first half ended, Ben Simmons was well on his way to, at least, a double-double on the evening. He had eight points, five assists and six rebounds in the first 24 minutes and began to close in on his seventh triple-double of the season. Simmons would finish the night with ten points, ten assists and 13 rebounds, good for that seventh triple-double of the season, tying him with Magic Johnson for second all-time by a rookie in a season.
The 76ers would continue to scrap as the third quarter began, keeping the Indiana lead within reach, as they trailed by no greater than seven points through the first six minutes of the quarter. That's when Dario Saric came alive, picking up five consecutive points, tying the game at 71 all. The eight point run was aided, in part, by a long drought for Indiana from beyond the arc. After starting the night four of seven from deep, the Pacers missed 15 consecutive three balls. Pacers' all-star, Victor Oladipo, was not immune to the cold streak from three, or from the field in general, for that matter, netting just three field goals in the first 36 minutes of action.
THE HOMIE FOR THREE https://t.co/a5Lr70dUFX
But, as they have each run prior on the night, the Pacers would become the aggressors once more, scoring nine straight points to jump out to a 80-71 lead with three and half minutes to play in the third. That, however, is when Joel Embiid would come alive. The 76ers big man would score the final eight points of the quarter, putting Philadelphia within striking distance as the final 12 minutes of play were to begin. The 76ers trailed by four, 83-79, entering the final quarter of play.
Embiid would pick up in the fourth quarter where he left off in the third, knocking down the first 76ers' bucket, cutting the Indiana lead to two. Embiid would finish the night 29 points, shooting 50 percent from the field. 20 of those points came in the second half. He added 12 rebounds for his first double-double in 11 days. Two of his 29 points would come on this baseline slam.
SLAM IT DOWN, @JOELEMBIID https://t.co/POU0TZR2Bn
For the final time, the Pacers would pull ahead with a 7-2 run of their, expanding the lead to 90-83. Joel Embiid would soon after cut the Pacers' lead to three, 92-89, but former-76er Trevor Booker grabbed a second chance opportunity on a tip in off the rim. On the ensuing Indiana possession, after an Embiid miss, the Pacers would finally awaken their sleeping all-star, as Oladipo knocked down perhaps the biggest three of the night, extending the Pacers' lead to eight points, 97-89.
The 76ers would cut the lead three after an Embiid dunk and one final clutch three from Redick.
Down it goes for JJ Redick! 99-94, them | 4Q | 1:10 https://t.co/hfAbmQmKTL
Joel Embiid continued to attempt to single-handedly will the 76ers back into contention, as he found the net for the final time with 13 seconds to play, trimming the lead to 101-98. The 76ers were within one possession, and needed a defensive stop for a chance to tie the game. They got one, albeit in an unforeseen fashion, as Victor Oladipo was called for an offensive foul after trying to swing through a double team, making contact with Ben Simmons with seven seconds remaining.
Out of a timeout, Joel Embiid hoisted up a three for the tie that fell short off the front rim, but possession couldn't be secured by either team, as Oladipo and Dario Saric got tied up in the paint. The two settled in for a jump ball with three seconds remaining, but Oladipo outjumped Saric, tipping the ball backwards, where Trevor Booker would make an athletic play to throw it off a 76ers' leg while fading out of bounds, claiming possession for the Pacers with three tenths of a second left. Indiana would run out the clock, and secure the victory.
For the 23rd time this season, all Philadelphia starters would score in double figures, but the bench contributed little Tuesday night, adding just 15 points on six of 13 shooting from the floor.
Final stats ⤵️ Embiid 29 PTS / 12 REB Saric 18 PTS Redick 16 PTS Covington 10 PTS / 10 REB Simmons 10 PTS / 10 AST / 13 REB
For the 76ers, the loss drops them to 36-30 on the regular season. They remain in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, but fall to three full games back of the Pacers for the third seed. The 76ers also now sit just a half game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks, who remain in the seventh spot.
The victory for the Pacers was their second of the season over the 76ers, claiming the three game season series two games to one. This will become important should the 76ers and Pacers find themselves in a battle down the stretch for any particular seed, as the 76ers will have to beat the Pacers outright. Otherwise, Indiana holds the tie breaker. The Pacers claim their 40th win of the season, improving to 12 games over .500. They are now a full game ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the three seed. The win also marks the first time a visiting team defeated the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center since December 21, when the Raptors came to Philadelphia and grabbed a win.
The 76ers will be back in action Thursday night, when they head to Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. You can hear all the action on 97.5 The Fanatic.
-By Tyler Zulli