The Philadelphia 76ers (19-10) will be looking to shake off their Brooklyn loss at Wells Fargo Center, as the Indiana Pacers (18-10) come to town. The Pacers are on a five-game winning streak (with their most recent win coming against Milwaukee) and Victor Oladipo (who missed 11 games with a sore right knee) will have his second night back in the lineup. Here are three storylines to watch for tonight's game.
Pacers defense is ridiculously good
The Pacers are one of the top defensive teams in the NBA. Their 101.3 opponent points per game is the best mark in the league, and over their past five games, they have held opponents to a remarkable 95.0 ppg. Their 102.4 defensive rating is second best in the league, as are their steals (9.1), opponent paint points (41.9), and opponent field goals made (37.4). They also allow the least second-chance points in the league, and I could go on and on, but you get my point. What this all comes down to is the Sixers must be cleaner and smarter on offense to beat this Pacers team.
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Cannot rely on getting to the line
The Sixers are second only to the Los Angeles Clippers at getting to the charity stripe this season. It's been a big part of their success and was one of the areas they struggled with in their loss to the Nets (Jimmy Butler being out, also affected this, and he's listed as questionable for tonight's game). Unfortunately for the Sixers, the Pacers are also the best team in the NBA at limiting their opponents' appearances at the line (19.6). Relying on getting calls and being sent to the line, won't work for the Sixers tonight.
J.J. Redick, we need you!
The Sixers are going to need a big night from J.J. Redick, especially if Jimmy Butler is out for tonight's game. Redick is shooting just 5-24 (20.8 percent) from deep over his past three games, and the Sixers are going to need some threes to beat this Pacers team. Despite being elite defensively in what seems like every other category, the Pacers are allowing opponents to shoot 36.3 percent from three (22nd), so if there's one place that I could choose for the Sixers to be lights out from, it would be from the three-point line.
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