The Indiana Pacers bring a 4-game win streak into the WFC tonight to face the Sixers, including a win yesterday and a win Monday. Tonight, the Sixers have to push the pace. Make Indy expend a ton of energy early and often. See if you can steal a win against what has to be a tired squad.
Indy's two main weapons, Paul George and David West, have logged 83 and 72 minutes, respectively, over the past two days. It's really unfortunate Thad won't be playing, because he'd apply a ton of presssure on West. There are two keys when you're going up against a team with an extreme rest disadvantage. First, you have to push them early. Keep the pace up in the first half, especially keep the pressure up on the defensive end. Don't let them rest while they're on the court. Second, don't shrink your own rotations dramatically. Keep cycling in fresh legs, keep making them work on both ends of the floor and keep running at every opportunity.
Forgetting the rest issue for a second, when you look at the matchups, the Sixers have a couple of problems. First, they don't have anyone to guard Roy Hibbert. Hibbert has been terrible this season, but I have vivid memories of him pouring in easy points vs. the Sixers in the past. Second, Evan Turner vs. Paul George. You probably won't see many worse matchups for the Sixers. George is a big, rangy, athletic defender and an excellent three-point shooter. Pretty much everything Turner struggles against, on both ends of the floor. You have to assume Turner will get the nod over Nick Young to take the matchup, he really needs to show up tonight.
Indy is a very similar team to the Sixers, statistically. Cut from the same mold, only much better. Their offense is terrible (25th in the league in OFR), they're typically carried by their defense (1st in the league). Their offense has been much better recently, though (OFR of 110+ in 4 of their last 6). The Sixers defense is creeping up toward the top 10 (they're currently 11th in DFR), while only Washington is keeping them from being dead last offensively (yes, the Bobcats have a better OFR than the Sixers).
Expect a low-scoring, sloppy game. The sloppier the better for the Sixers, I'm thinking.
The tip is at 7pm. Use this as your game thread, I'll be watching on DVR. Run them ragged. Get the win. Four-in-a-row has a nice ring to it. Win one for Thad!