Sixers’ Winning Streak Snapped by Pacers in a Close Game

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The Philadelphia 76ers suffered a 132-126 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, ending their eight-game winning streak. The Sixers, who were without Joel Embiid due to a non-COVID illness, could not contain the Pacers’ balanced offense and struggled to execute down the stretch.

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Simmons Shines in Embiid’s Absence

With Embiid out, Ben Simmons stepped up as the Sixers’ primary scorer and facilitator. He finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals. He was aggressive from the start, scoring 15 of the Sixers’ first 21 points and setting up his teammates for easy baskets. He also knocked down two fadeaway jumpers, a rare sight for the All-Star point guard.

Simmons was especially effective in transition, where he used his speed and strength to attack the rim or find open shooters. He also played solid defense on the Pacers’ guards, disrupting their rhythm and forcing turnovers.

Pacers’ Bench Makes the Difference

The Pacers had six players score in double figures, led by Caris LeVert’s 24 points. However, the biggest factor in their win was their bench production. The Pacers’ reserves outscored the Sixers’ bench 58-32, with T.J. McConnell, Doug McDermott, and Oshae Brissett combining for 50 points.

McConnell, a former Sixer, had a near triple-double with 10 points, 12 assists and nine steals. He was a pest on defense, constantly harassing the Sixers’ ball handlers and creating havoc. McDermott was hot from the outside, making six of his nine three-point attempts. Brissett, who signed a three-year deal with the Pacers earlier in the day, had a career-high 18 points and eight rebounds.

The Pacers’ bench gave them a spark in the second half when they erased a 16-point deficit and took the lead in the third quarter. They also helped them close out the game in the fourth quarter when they outscored the Sixers 37-29.

Sixers’ Late-Game Woes Continue

The Sixers had a chance to win the game in the final minutes, but they failed to execute on both ends of the floor. They missed several shots, committed costly turnovers, and fouled the Pacers too often. They also had trouble defending the pick-and-roll, allowing the Pacers to get easy baskets or draw fouls.

The Sixers have had issues with their late-game offense all season, especially when Embiid is not on the court. They lack a reliable closer who can create his shot or get to the free-throw line. Tobias Harris, who had 27 points, tried to fill that role, but he was not efficient in the clutch. He missed four of his five shots in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over twice.

The Sixers will have to improve their late-game execution if they want to secure the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and make a deep playoff run. They still have a one-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets, who also lost on Tuesday. They will face the Miami Heat on Thursday in a crucial matchup.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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