Game preview: Pacers at 76ers

Match

The Pacers (25-55) will wrap up the 2021-22 campaign over the weekend with a pair of road games, starting Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia.

After losing eight straight games, the Blue & Gold will use the last weekend of the season to continue to develop their young players and try to build momentum ahead of the offseason. That’s been the real focus for the past couple of months as injuries have plagued the roster, but a silver lining has been that several younger players have had more opportunities.

Two of those players were rewarded Thursday, as the team converted rookies Terry Taylor and Duane Washington Jr. to full NBA contracts. Taylor, a 6-5 forward for Austin Peay, proved to be a monster on the ice when given the chance. He appeared in 31 games with seven starts and averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds, with more than half of his rebounds on offensive glass. Washington, a 6-3 guard at Ohio State, gave the team a real spark offensively at times, averaging 9.6 points on 36.6% shooting from 3-pointers in 46 games (seven starts) .

The Taylor and Washington promotions also created a pair of two-way openers for the remainder of the season, which the team used to reward a pair of Fort Wayne Mad Ants players. Nate Hinton is returning to Indiana, where he previously played this season on a COVID-19 hardship contract. The team also signed Gabe York, who will make his NBA debut if he sees action this weekend.

York is a 28-year-old guard who was a college teammate with TJ McConnell at Arizona. He was undrafted in 2016 and has played in Italy, Germany, Greece, France and Israel as well as the G League. York has had a great season this year for the Mad Ants, averaging 21.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.4 steals. Among players who have played at least 20 games in the G League, York ranked first in steals and 11th in scoring.

With two games remaining, the Sixers are nearly locked in their playoff seeding and first-round game. Unless Philadelphia wins and Boston or Milwaukee loses, the Sixers will be the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, where they will almost certainly face Toronto in the first round. With that outcome looking very likely, expect the Sixers to handle this weekend’s games as a playoff tune-up.

Projected starters

Pacers: PG – Tyrese Haliburton, SG – Buddy Hield, SF – Oshae Brissett, PF – Terry Taylor, C – Isaiah Jackson
76ers: PG – Tyrese Maxey, SG – James Harden, SF – Matisse Thybulle, PF – Tobias Harris, C – Joel Embiid

injury report

Pacers: Goga Bitadze – Doubtful (Sore Right Foot), Malcolm Brogdon – Doubtful (Sore Lower Back), Jalen Smith – Doubtful (Sore Left Groin), Chris Duarte – Doubtful (Sore Left Toe), Ricky Rubio – Out (Torn Left ACL) , Myles Turner – out (left foot stress reaction), TJ Warren – out (left navicular fracture)

76ers: Charles Bassey – out (right shoulder pain/G League assignment), Georges Niang – out (left patellar tendinopathy), Jaden Springer – out (G League assignment)

Last meeting

April 5, 2022: The Pacers nearly erased a 27-point deficit, within four points of taking the lead in the fourth quarter, but narrowly missed their final home game of the regular season.

Joel Embiid’s 45 points lifted Philadelphia to a 131-122 win at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Tyrese Maxey added 30 points and went 8-of-11 to 3-pointers for the 76ers, with seven of his three coming in the visitors’ 82-point first half.

Buddy Hield led Indiana with 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in the loss. Tyrese Haliburton added 21 points, eight boards and five assists.

Outstanding

  • Whichever team wins on Saturday will win the season series. The Pacers beat Philadelphia on Nov. 13 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse before the Sixers won on Tuesday. The two teams have alternately won the season series for the past four years, with the 76ers winning the season series in 2020-21.
  • York is the 30th player to appear on the Pacers’ roster at some point in the 2021-22 season. If he makes his NBA debut this weekend, he’ll be the 28th to play for Indiana in a game (TJ Warren and Ricky Rubio haven’t played for the Blue & Gold this season due to injuries).
  • TJ McConnell returns to Philadelphia on Saturday. He played four seasons with the 76ers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

Tickets

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TV & Radio Listings Broadcast Information »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play by play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (game by game), Pat Boylan (studio host)


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