Sixers seek more energetic effort vs. slumping Pacers

Embiid Sixers
Joel Embiid and the Sixers look to rebound after a loss to the Cavaliers.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers will look to rebound from a disappointing loss when they host the Indiana Pacers on Monday.

The Sixers fell 112-109 in overtime at home to the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

It’s unclear whether Tobias Harris will be able to return from a right knee contusion. Harris missed the game against the Cavaliers and it was evident that the Sixers were a different team without their standout swingman.

Joel Embiid had 42 points and 13 rebounds while Ben Simmons added 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Without Harris and with Seth Curry missing 12 of his 13 field-goal attempts, the Sixers came up short.

“I thought we just came out flat. Zero energy tonight … which shows you just a lack of discipline,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said.

It was only the third home loss all season for the Sixers, who ended the night a half-game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for first place in the Eastern Conference.

The bench, which provided 46 points in a win over the Dallas Mavericks last Thursday, was virtually non-existent against Cleveland. The Cavaliers featured only nine players.

Curry, who had a bout with COVID-19 earlier this season, looked shaky on both ends of the court. Curry missed seven games and returned on Jan. 22.

“I just think shooters shoot,” Rivers said. “They go through these stretches. I don’t think he’s been very consistent since he’s returned really from COVID. We had heard that other players had been in and out like this as well. So the best thing to do is just keep playing him and that’s what we are doing.”

The reeling Pacers will be hoping to avoid a fourth consecutive loss when they visit the Sixers.

On Saturday, the Pacers were defeated 110-107 by the New York Knicks.

Malcolm Brogdon (knee) sat out the road loss to the Knicks and Jeremy Lamb left in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury. The status for both players is unclear against the Sixers.

Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry (31) shoots against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It was the first game missed by Brogdon all season. Brogdon had been averaging nearly 36 minutes per game while producing 21.4 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Backup guard T.J. McConnell, a former Sixer, played a career-high 46 minutes against New York. McConnell began his career as an undrafted free agent in Philadelphia in 2015.

“We’ve got a positive group,” McConnell said. “We’ve got a positive coach and a good coach. We’re not overreacting. It is what it is. We’ve lost however many, but we’re not going to let things pile on. We’re going to move on to the next one and go get one in Philadelphia.”

Doug McDermott led the way with 20 points while McConnell added 17. All-Star Domantas Sabonis had 15 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds, Justin Holiday scored 13 points and Myles Turner had 11.

In the last three losses, the Pacers played well for stretches but struggled to close out games in the fourth.

“They want to win really bad,” Indiana coach Nate Bjorkgren said. “It doesn’t feel good at all.”

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