The Sixers and Pacers both got off to less then desireable starts, finishing the first quarter tied at 12 a piece. Along with sloppy play and a few poor decisions, the 76ers couldn’t seem to get a jumper to fall and were even more reluctant to drive to the bucket.
The Sixers shot just 31.3% on the day, including dismal performances by Clay Tucker (2 for 12) and Xavier Silas who was (3 for 10).
First round pick Maurice Harkless played well, but was not overwhelmingly impressive. The 6’8’’ guard-forward shot four of nine from the field and knocked down his only three point attempt of the game.
Harkless’ length and athleticism continues to be impressive on the defensive end, but being a little on the skinny side allowed him to be banged around a bit in the paint and pushed around by a stronger Lance Stephenson. The 15th overall pick started the game for the Sixers and logged 23 minutes scoring nine points and grabbing five boards.
Many fans who are hoping that former Duke Blue Devil Jon Scheyer can shoot his way onto the Sixers roster this year were disappointed with the guards performance. Scheyer struggled to find open jumpers, seeming almost stagnant on the wing at times and logged just over 13 minutes. His inferior athleticism also showed on the defensive end. If Scheyer hopes to be a Sixer, it’s going to take a much more impressive week.
Things started to pick up in the second quarter with Jacob Pullen taking over at point. With Pullen handling the ball the offensive pace for the Sixers picked up and on defense the former Kansas State guard brought the pressure.
Center Solomon Jones, who led all Sixers with nine rebounds, did a nice job of helping to trap on the perimeter, but overall the Sixers struggled in the paint.
Throughout the game the Pacers continued to feed the ball inside, doubling up the Sixers 32-16 in points in the paint. Seven footer Nik Vucevic didn’t play today and neither did big man Justin Williams. Terrence Jennings added a little help inside, but was no help on the offensive end. Devin Searcy also added little help inside on offense, scoring just three points, all coming from the free throw line.
The Sixers held a lead at halftime, but the second half was a back and forth battle.
Along with Pullen, who led all Sixers with 15 points, Justin Holiday (Jrue’s older brother) impressed. Holiday had a decent shooting day from outside, scoring 10 points, and the lanky guard-forward also pulled down seven boards.
Trailing 62-57 with under a minute and a half to go Silas took a terrible three in transition that looked to be the end of things. But Pullen would have none of that.
The ferocious guard banged a three, cutting it to 63-60 with 55 seconds remaining. Then Robert Vaden hit a three of his own, seemingly ending the game again. But Pullen answered again, 63-66. It appeared as if Pullen wouldn’t be denied, but sloppy play caught up to the Sixers again and they ultimately fell short.
One can only wonder what things would have looked like had Vucevic and injured Arnett Moultrie been playing. The Sixers were out rebounded, out scored and out bodied in the paint. Zach Rosen also did not play today, but with five consecutive days of games in a row, some sort of rotation is expected.
Highlights and a full box score can be found at NBA.com.
The Sixers kick off tomorrow’s action at 11:00 am taking on the Utah Jazz. Remember, all games can be seen on NBA TV.
Check us out on Twitter @Philadunkia for live Tweets from the Sixer games as I’ll be here in Orlando all week.