The 76ers have gone 6-2 for the month of January after a monster 149-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Philly shot almost 60% from the field and almost 50% from 3-point range as the T-Wolves could do nothing more than toil. The Sixers will head into Indiana, having won 4 of its last 7 on the road. With a defense that’s giving up 112.4 PPG (9th worst in the NBA), it’s been the offense that has made this team a force to reckoned with, averaging 115 PPG (4th in NBA) and shooting 47.2% from the field (8th in NBA). Rising superstar Joel Embiid leads the team in both scoring at 27 PPG and rebounding at 13.3 RPG. The 76ers also get nice contributions from Jimmy Butler (18.7 PPG) and JJ Reddick (18.3 PPG).
Indiana is only 21st in the league in scoring, but the team’s efficiency is noted by the fact they rank 2nd in the NBA in field goal percentage 48.3% and 5th in 3-point shooting at 37.3%. The Pacers were coming off a long 3-2 road trip when they easily beat the Phoenix Suns last out 131-97 at home. That’s high point production from a team that likes to play at a controlled pace. The team is 9-1 in its last 10 home game. The defense is playing terrific this year, giving up only 103 PPG. It’s noteworthy that Victor Oladipo’s numbers are down significant this year, but he’s still averaging 19.5 PPG to lead the team in scoring. Consistency and scrappiness are the hallmarks of this basketball team.
Prediction: The Sixers tend to struggle against good defensive teams and could have issues in this game. Indiana also holds a significant home court presence of late, which bodes well when the line is this small. Should be a competitive game between two teams coming off huge wins. Indiana -3.5 (score – Indiana 115 -107)