Pacers-76ers Preview

The Associated PressMarch 16, 2013

The Indiana Pacers' outstanding defense faltered in their latest game, allowing 83 points over the final three quarters.

The Philadelphia 76ers haven't come close to averaging 83 points a game against the Pacers this season.

The Pacers will try to beat the 76ers for the third straight time and win their fifth in six road games overall when the teams meet Saturday night.

After winning 10 of 12, Indiana (40-25) has endured a bumpy ride while splitting its last eight contests. The Pacers lost for the third time in five home games on Friday, 99-93 to a Lakers team that played without Kobe Bryant over the final three quarters.

Los Angeles, however, got going without him. The Lakers shot 49.1 percent from the field after the opening 12 minutes and hit 13 of 26 3s overall against a Pacers team that leads the league in defensive field-goal percentage (41.7) and in defending the 3 (32.6).

"Guarding the 3-point line was probably the biggest of the mental breakdowns," coach Frank Vogel said. "We left shooters left and right, a variety of different ways. We didn't play a good basketball game.''

George Hill had a game-high 27 points and Paul George added 20, but David West and Roy Hibbert combined for just 15 points on 7-of-25 shooting. As a team, the Pacers shot 37.4 percent.

Indiana's up-and-down offense has been part of the team's recent troubles. The Pacers have averaged 106.1 points on 50.1 percent shooting in their eight wins since the All-Star break, but have scored 89.0 per game while shooting just 39.1 percent in their four losses.

George, who shot just 31.0 percent from the field in those defeats, had a game-high 28 points and hit 5 of 7 from 3-point range in a 95-85 home win over the 76ers on Dec. 14.

With George shooting just 4 of 13 in the second meeting, Roy Hibbert stepped up with 18 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in an 88-69 victory in Philadelphia on Feb. 6.

The 76ers have shot 38.6 percent - including 5 of 20 from 3-point range - in the season series.

After dropping 12 of 13, Philadelphia (24-40) pulled out a 106-97 victory over Brooklyn on Monday and nearly ended Miami's then-19-game winning streak before falling 98-94 on Wednesday.

Thaddeus Young finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds against the Heat, while Jrue Holiday scored 21 with seven boards and seven assists.

"I thought we executed, got some shots at the end, and just couldn't quite find a way to get over the top," coach Doug Collins said.

Young, who missed the February loss to the Pacers with a hamstring injury, is playing well heading into this meeting. He's averaging 22.8 points on 68.9 percent shooting and 10.0 rebounds over his last four contests.

Holiday sat out the December loss with a sprained foot, and missed 15 of 22 shots while committing five turnovers in last month's defeat.

With Young back and leading the way, the 76ers have played much better on the offensive end at home lately. They've scored 101.3 points per game in their last four in Philadelphia, 7.3 more than they average there.

The Pacers have won their last two visits to the Wells Fargo Center and four of five overall in this series.