Sixers outpaced in Indiana

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Indiana 107, Philadelphia 94 – Box Score

With Luke Maye and Malik Monk traded late haymakers in the thriller between UNC and Kentucky Sunday night, there wasn’t much drama to be had for Philadelphia in Game 4 of its 5-game road trip. Facing an Indiana squad needing every win it can grab to hang onto one of the lower rungs in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Sixers came out flat, falling behind by 9 points after one quarter and never appearing to have the gas needed to spark a comeback.

After making a push for him at the trade deadline, the Sixers likely didn’t do much to impress Paul George, who scored a game-high 21 points to go along with 8 rebounds. Meanwhile, the guy who has been playing like a superstar lately for Philadelphia, Dario Saric, shot just 3-15 from the field for 9 points, breaking his 22-game streak of scoring in double figures.

In the battle of young big men, Richaun Holmes, one of the last remaining Sixers centers with working knees, double-doubled with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Holmes got the best of Myles Turner on this vicious throwdown in the paint.

However, that was about all that went wrong for Turner on the evening, as the young Pacers center finished with 17 points on 7-9 shooting, tying a career-high with 16 rebounds, and recording a pair of blocks.

The main bright spots for the Sixers came off the bench Sunday night. Sergio Rodriguez had a hot shooting night off the pine, hitting 4 of 6 threes for a team-high 16 points, including a buzzer-beater to end the third quarter.

El Chacho has his deficiencies, particularly on the defensive end, but the outside shooting improvements he made in recent years have definitely carried back over stateside. His 36.5% shooting from behind the arc represents the best mark of his NBA career.

Alongside Rodriguez, Shawn Long picked up the second unit by recording his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. It was the third consecutive game in double figures for the rookie, who is shooting 62.0% from the field since being called up from the Sevens. I don’t know if Long has a long-term future in Philadelphia, but he’s certainly proving he can do much more on the court than break Ben Simmons’ foot.

With the loss, the Sixers remain in a three-way tie with the Knicks and Magic for the 4th-worst record in the NBA. Sacramento somehow came back from 18 down in the 4th quarter to beat the Clippers Sunday, so the fighting swap rights are back up to sitting with the 7th-worst record overall. Tomorrow night’s contest in Brooklyn will be a pivotal point in Philadelphia’s home stretch of tanking with less than 10 games remaining.

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