For the first time in months, the Sixers put together consecutive quality efforts. They took down the Nets behind inspired play from Hawes, then nearly halted Miami's win streak at 19. Tonight, they're going to face the type of team they can beat. Indy is a quality squad, but their offense is bad. They rely on the best defense in the league to carry the #20 offense. The Pacers are quite similar to what the Sixers were last season.
After five dreadful games, Jrue has played like his better self in the past two. Thad has also put up a couple of dominant performances recently, and seems like he's born again hard since resting his hammy. If they can continue to get production from Wright off the bench, and either Turner or Hawes can put together a decent game, they've got a shot at winning this game. The thing about facing a team like Indy is their defense is tough to overcome, but their putrid offense will typically keep the score low, low enough where an unexpected hot streak can turn the table.
Indy is coming off a tough loss last night to the Kobe-light Lakers (Kobe only played 12 minutes). Every important Pacer played big minutes but Hibbert, who played a bit below his average of 28 (would anyone else have a problem giving a max contract to a guy who has never played 30 minutes/game in his career?).
The last time these teams met, Doug Collins gave Kwame the starting nod to match Indy's size. He's only played once since, so I'd assume we won't see a repeat of that. I also don't think game planning to stop Roy Hibbert is really necessary. He stops himself. If I was going to focus on something, it would be getting the ball out of Paul George's hands as much as possible. See if you can make Lance Stephenson initiate.
In the tank watch, we've got the Suns vs. the Wiz (someone has to win!), Cavs @ the Spurs and Pistons @ Portland. Root as you will.
The tip is at 7:30pm. This is your game thread. I'll be here throughout. Join me if you can't help it. Can't believe it's snowing here.