The Philadelphia 76ers officially get back at it on Saturday as they take on the Indiana Pacers in their restart opener.
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The Philadelphia 76ers are officially back. For the first time since March 11, the team will play a game that actually counts. It has been a long and arduous process, but they’re in the bubble in Orlando with an opportunity to chase a championship and that begins on Saturday night.
Their opponent is the Indiana Pacers in a big game right off the bat for the Sixers. Philadelphia and Indiana are currently tied for the 5 seed in the East, but the Sixers are relegated to the 6 seed due to the fact that they dropped two of the three meetings with the Pacers before the league suspension. That makes this restart opener just a bit bigger than usual.
With that said, let’s get into the preview with television information, the injury report, and the storylines to watch in this one.
How to watch Sixers vs. Pacers
- Date: Saturday, August 1
- Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
- Location: VISA Athletic Center Orlando, FL
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Sixers: DOUBTFUL: Glenn Robinson III (left hip pointer) PROBABLE: Raul Neto (lower back tightness)
- Pacers: OUT: Domantas Sabonis (left foot plantar fasciitis), Jeremy Lamb (left torn ACL) QUESTIONABLE: Malcolm Brogdon (cervical strain), Goga Bitadze (left knee soreness)
Keys to beating Pacers
The Sixers are a much bigger team than the Pacers, to begin with, but with that Indiana will be missing Sabonis? It’s going to be tough for Indiana to even grab any rebounds or get into the paint. They will be looking to force turnovers and get out and run and that is on the mind of coach Brett Brown heading into this game.
“Defensively because of the same criteria, they’re small, they fly, and they get up and down the court,” Brown finished with. “So anything that equals turnovers that lead to transition and having to take our bigger time and having to deal with 4 or 5 buzzsaws, kind of waterbug type of point guards coming at you, that is a challenge. The Indiana game simplified, offense-defense, those are the premortem concerns that I have.”
Simmons loves playing power forward
The Sixers will debut a new starting lineup on Saturday as they are moving Shake Milton into the lineup over Al Horford and Ben Simmons moving to the power forward spot. Simmons is enjoying his new position as he is able to focus more on his own offense rather than trying to set everybody up and getting them into the offense.
“I’m just continuing to add new things to my game,” said Simmons. “Over time it’s all going to come. I just need to stay in the gym and keep working and things will happen. I’ve enjoyed playing this new role. It’s new and it’s not new. I’m used to being on the floor so to me it’s just a different opportunity and a different spot on the floor. It’s the ways I can contribute a lot.”
The Pacers will undoubtedly force a few turnovers and get out in transition. Both Simmons and Joel Embiid are prone to having high turnover games and Indiana will bother them in plenty of ways to have their success, but ultimately the Sixers should be able to bully the Pacers too much in the paint. From Simmons and Embiid working in the starting lineup to Al Horford coming off the bench, Philadelphia should be able to grind to a win in this one.
Pick: Sixers in a close one
Sixers vs. Pacers season series
November 30: 119-116 Sixers
December 31: 115-97 Pacers
January 13: 101-95 Pacers