by Kyle Sullivan
After a tough loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Sixers are back in action Friday night against the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers. The last time these two met back in November, the season was just getting underway, and the Pacers walked away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a 106-98 win.
Matchup to Watch
PF: David West vs. Thaddeus Young
One key matchup Friday night will be between forwards David West and Thaddeus Young. In their last meeting, Young did not play due to personal reasons, but Friday he’ll be looking to contain West, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds in that game. Young himself has put together an impressive stretch since the trade deadline, averaging 20.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.6 steals a game. David West is putting up 17.1 points and 7.2 rebounds since February 20.
In Young’s last game, a 115-98 loss to Sacramento, he contributed 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists. West tallied 24 points on 11-of-13 shooting to go along with five rebounds and three assists in a 94-83 win over Boston Wednesday night.
Center Henry Sims is coming off the best statistical game in his short career. Sims notched career highs in points (20), rebounds (10), steals (3), and free throws made (10) in Wednesday’s loss to the Kings; it was his first career double-double. He was able to take advantage of the absence of Sacramento big man DeMarcus Cousins, who was limited to 27 minutes due to early foul trouble. Sims’ next assignment will again be a tough one, facing 7’2” center Roy Hibbert (11.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.4 BPG) who is a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
Friday’s game between the Sixers and Pacers will mark the first meeting between the Sixers and Evan Turner, who was traded to Indiana along with Lavoy Allen at the trade deadline in February. Since the trade, Turner is averaging 9.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assist a game coming off the bench. Turner had averaged 17.4 points per game this season with Philadelphia, but in a complimentary role with the Pacers, Turner has hit 17 just twice twice, once against Boston (17) and once against Charlotte (22).
Setting the Tempo
As the 2013-14 seasons hits its final stretch, the Sixers run the league’s fastest offense, leading the NBA in pace. Philadelphia uses 104.7 possessions per game, whereas Indiana uses only 97.0 (19th). A key for Philadelphia will be to maximize those possessions, as Indiana is first in the league is points allowed (92.0 OPPG) and third in fastbreak points allowed per game (11.5). In their last matchup, the Sixers scored 19 fast break points off of 19 Indiana turnovers.
Philadelphia: Carter-Williams | Thompson | J. Anderson | T. Young | Sims
Indiana: G. Hill | Stephenson | George | West | Hibbert
Tale of the Tape
|Category||Pacers (47-17)||Sixers (15-49)|
|PPG||Paul George – 22.1||Thaddeus Young – 17.5|
|RPG||Roy Hibbert – 7.3||Thaddeus Young – 6.1|
|APG||Lance Stephenson – 5.0||Michael Carter-Williams – 6.3|
|SPG||Paul George – 1.8||Thaddeus Young – 2.1|
|BPG||Roy Hibbert – 2.4||Henry Sims – 0.9|