3 observations: Pacers use 3-pointers to knock off Sixers at home

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The Philadelphia 76ers began the final week of the season on the road taking on the Indiana Pacers and they had a goal in their mind and that was to clinch the No. 1 seed in the East. The job was tough as they were missing Joel Embiid as well as three key bench pieces and it proved to be too much to overcome.

Indiana, who was equally as shorthanded, used a scrappy effort and a bunch of 3-pointers to knock off the Sixers at home 103-94. The Pacers were led by Doug McDermott who shot 4-for-10 from deep and 20 points and Domantas Sabonis had 16 points, 15 assists, and 13 rebounds.

Philadelphia was led by Tobias Harris with 27 points and five rebounds, Ben Simmons returned to the lineup and had 20 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, Tyrese Maxey had 11 off the bench, and Seth Curry had 10.

Here are the observations following a tough loss:

Spotty 3-point defense/disparity

With the Pacers being so shorthanded, they had to rely on being able to knock down open looks from deep. They launched 16 triples in the first quarter and they made six of them to stay within hailing distance of Philadelphia. The ball movement that Indiana presented gave the Sixers some problems on that end of the floor. They did shore it up a bit in the second quarter holding Indiana to just 2-for-8 shooting from deep in that quarter. Overall, Indiana shot 41 triples on the night and Philadelphia took only 26. That was a big issue in this one. In the third quarter, the Pacers were able to take the lead as they were able to knock down their looks from deep. McDermott gave Danny Green a lot of trouble as an active guy who uses screens to knock down shots. Those are the types of players that give the veteran trouble when it comes to the defensive end. That is one issue that coach Doc Rivers will have to take a look at.

Shooters being hesitant

The presence of Curry and Green are already enough to make sure that Simmons and the offense has enough space to operate, but when they are knocking down shots? That is when this team is almost impossible to stop. With Simmons being aggressive and getting to the basket, it makes life easier for the shooters to knock down open looks. However, after a solid start, Curry began doing that weird thing he does where he will just pass up so many open looks from deep. He took three triples in the early going, but he then proceeded to pass up so many more open looks. He has got to pull the trigger on these open shots he receives on this team. With three games now left in the regular season, Philadelphia should be focusing on just making sure things are all fine-tuned for the postseason. That means making sure the shooters are in a groove and feeling in a rhythm heading into the playoffs. They will need both Curry and Green heading into it in order to get things done in the half-court. They also need Curry to stop passing up open looks. He has got to pull the trigger on these opportunities.

Simmons attacking

Give credit to Maxey for doing this in their win on Saturday when Simmons couldn’t go, but he is not quite like the All-Star guard just yet in that area. Simmons was constantly going after the much smaller Pacers and he was punishing Indiana inside with no Myles Turner there to protect the rim. There were so many times in this one where he was exploding to the rim and finishing it off with a slam and once he did that, that set up the rest of his teammates for open looks. Simmons also pulled out a fadeaway jumper while the shot clock was winding down as well. He has the ability to really be a serious threat on offense with his scoring and when he fully realizes that, he is going to take off. He is already a top 15 player or so and when he decides to score, that makes the team’s offense much scarier.

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