The 76ers kicked off three back-to-back-to-back games Monday night, rolling to their fifth straight win by holding off a diminished but determined Indiana Pacers squad. The crowd at the Wells Fargo Center was suprisingly sparse, but still proved to be loud and proud as the 76ers led most of the way and remain undefeated at home so far this year. The victory puts the 76ers 1.5 games ahead of the Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 6-2.
The two teams came into the game with the 1st and 3rd ranked defenses in the league, respectively. The 76ers have only given up 100 points or more twice so far this year. They held their last four opponents to no more than 93 points, including a shocking 62-point shutdown game at home versus the Raptors last Satuday. The Pacers previous game before the road trip to Philly was also a home game on Saturday, where they held the Bobcats to 77 points, after giving up 30 in the first quarter. They also held the Celtics to 74 points in Boston the night before, and have only given up 100 points once. The 96 points put up by the Sixers Monday night was tied for the second-highest point total scored against the Pacers this year.
The Pacers were plagued by injuries and illness, missing starters Danny Granger and George Hill, and losing Tyler Hansbrough in the game’s third quarter. Hill took a bad spill versus Charlotte, and was held out of Monday’s game with an injured tailbone. Granger remained at the team’s hotel, battling the effects of food poisoning. Hansbrough took an Andre Iguodala elbow to the eye and did not return. The loss of these players took a noticable toll on the team, despite still having six players with double figure scoring. Roy Hibbert scored 19 points, while David West continued to impress in a Pacers uniform by adding 15 points and 11 rebounds. Without Hill in the lineup, Indiana’s guard play suffered. Darren Collison shot only 2-11 from the field, and A.J. Price was a woeful 1-7.
Philadelphia had five players score in double figures, led by Iguodala, who continued to stuff the stat sheet with 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. The 76ers bench outscored the Pacers bench players 41-19.
These teams don’t meet up again until March 14th in Indiana. Next up for the Pacers is another tough contest at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. The 76ers continue their three games in three nights stretch Tuesday at home versus the Kings before going to New York to battle the Knicks.