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INDIANAPOLIS – Defensively, the Pacers did enough to win on Monday and Wednesday nights, against two of the NBA’s more talented teams.

But the offense wasn’t at a sustainable level to claim victory in either game.

Poor offensive execution reappeared on Wednesday night, as the Pacers lost to the 76ers, 100-94, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It marked Indiana’s first back-to-back loss stretch at home since last December.

Indiana (7-5) finished the night just 39.4 percent from the field, good for its second lowest field goal percentage of the season.

“When teams are switching like that, it forces you to go one-on-one and we’re not scoring with those matchups that we’re getting,” Nate McMillan said after his team scored just 44 points in Wednesday’s second half.

“We’re shooting at a low percentage, we’re not getting draw and kicks because everything is a switch, so it forces you to either go into the post and post up or try to attack from the perimeter…we’re just not scoring against some of those matchups that we’re getting.”

Outside of Victor Oladipo (36 points on 14-of-30 shooting) and Domantas Sabonis (16 points on 7-of-14 shooting), Indiana could not find much scoring.

The Pacers finished the night with just 3 players in double figures. Players not named Oladipo and Sabonis combined to shoot 16-of-50 from the floor. Darren Collison continued his early-season struggles, going scoreless with 1 assist in 18 minutes.

“We just didn’t hit enough shots, honestly,” Oladipo said after the 100-94 loss. “I think we just need to loosen up a little bit and go back to playing free basketball. We still defended at a high level.

“We have to find a way to get our groove back, but we’ll find a way. It’s just a little adversity and that’s when we’re at our best.”

Thanks to Oladipo’s dominant first half of 24 points, Indiana fought back from an early deficit to tie the halftime score at 50.

The 76ers began to surge ahead in the third quarter, when they connected on 4 three pointers.

An 8-point cushion after three quarters was plenty for Philadelphia (7-5) to earn their first road win of the season.


Three Pacers’ Takeaways:

Help For Oladipo: Victor Oladipo had one of the best first halves this franchise has ever seen on Wednesday. Oladipo single handily kept the starting unit afloat with 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting. The rest of the starting lineup combined for 8 points on 3-of-13 shooting in the opening half. As the main/sole creator in that starting lineup, Oladipo has a lot of pressure on him to provide the necessary scoring output. Does Indiana have enough scoring in that starting lineup to sustain a proper level of scoring through 82 games, especially when Oladipo is option A, B and C to take away for an opposing team? The Pacers need others in the starting lineup to offer more scoring punch. Oladipo scored 36 points on a career-high 30 shots Wednesday. But he also had 7 assists and just 1 turnover. The All-Star needs some help right now.

Embiid Outclasses Turner: For those on the team Myles Turner train, Wednesday was a game you want to erase from your memory. Philadelphia was content with having 6-10 point guard Ben Simmons, not 7-0 center Joel Embiid, guard Myles Turner. Their move paid off with Turner finishing the evening a putrid 2-of-8 from the field for 7 points and 4 rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Turner’s two baskets came on a breakaway/cherry pick dunk and another wide open dunk, when no 76er picked him up in the half court. While Turner was struggling, Domantas Sabonis was being physical with Embiid. Sabonis finished the night with 16 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes of action off the bench. In both losses this week, the Pacers have not received enough from Turner.

Get Used To This Team: Clearly, the national television markets think highly of the Pacers and 76ers. Wednesday was the first of four nationally televised meetings between these two teams in 2018-19. For the Pacers, that means getting used to the unique challenges that come with defending the 76ers. On Wednesday, the Pacers went with Bojan Bogdanovic on Simmons and the results weren’t great. Simmons had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. An under the weather Thaddeus Young was used against Simmons last season and could provide a nice on-ball presence for the 6-10 point guard, who can’t shoot outside of the paint, in future matchups. At center, it’s all about being physical with Philly’s Joel Embiid, who is a rare present-day center that seems to thrive on contact. This is a reason why the Pacers have three centers on their roster, capable of logging rotational minutes. The physicality, especially from Turner, wasn’t enough on Wednesday, as Embiid had 20 points and 10 rebounds, establishing himself in the paint early. These two teams will see each other three more times this season, and a playoff matchup wouldn’t be a surprise either, so Indiana needs to be prepared for this unusual defensive game plan.


Pacers Upcoming Schedule

-at Miami (Friday, 11/9)

-at Houston (Sunday, 11/11)

-Miami (Friday, 11/16)

-Utah (Monday, 11/19)

-at Charlotte (Wednesday, 11/21)