After recording arguably their biggest victory of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers could be minus two starters when they visit the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
Tobias Harris (left calf soreness) and P.J. Tucker (back spasms) are both unlikely to be available after exiting with injuries during Saturday’s dramatic 133-130 win over the first-place Milwaukee Bucks.
Philadelphia rallied from an 18-point, third-quarter deficit and scored 48 points in the fourth to snap Milwaukee’s 16-game winning streak. James Harden scored 19 points in the final period and finished with 38 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
“I thought James made great decisions,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “He was obviously a scorer tonight, but he also was a point guard, too.
“First half, I thought he was aggressive trying to score. Second half, he scored, but he was playing like an aggressive point guard. I thought the second half was better because he not only scored but he assisted, as well.”
Joel Embiid added 31 points and 10 assists, while Tyrese Maxey scored 26 points and Georges Niang had 16. Maxey has scored at least 23 in four straight games.
The win could prove to be a turning point for the Sixers, who had lost 106 straight games when trailing by 14 or more points on the road going into the fourth quarter.
Philadelphia made a clear statement with the victory, but Rivers wants to be sure his team remembers that it was just one game.
“It’s important because we came on the road, they were playing great, they had a streak going, we broke the streak,” Rivers said. “It was a fun game, competitive game. Both teams wanted the game. But you know, we’ve got Indiana in two days. We’ll be focused on that.”
The Sixers’ five-game road trip concludes with a back-to-back against Indiana and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Indiana has won three of its last four, including a 125-122 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton returned after missing one game due to tightness in his right calf and scored 29 against Chicago, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left. The win moved Indiana into a tie for 11th place in the Eastern Conference.
Forward Aaron Nesmith sat out Sunday’s game with a sore left hip and was replaced in the starting lineup by Jordan Nwora, who was acquired last month from the Milwaukee Bucks. Nwora had 10 points and five rebounds in the win over Chicago.
“He’s done a good job of integrating himself into what we do, how we play, what we’re about,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “The skill level is obvious. He shoots the ball, he can pass it. He can finish around the basket. He has great touch. He’s been very solid defensively.”
The Pacers have also received a spark over the past week from center Myles Turner, who tied his career high with 40 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics on Feb. 23. Turner signed a two-year, $60 million contract extension with Indiana in January.
“I’m comfortable. I’m where I want to be,” Turner said. “I’m growing with a young team that’s hungry. I think we’re just trying to get better and better every day, and that’s the main goal of this whole thing.”
–Field Level Media