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On Off Night For Oladipo, Pacers Still Find Critical Road Win

The Indiana Pacers (40-28) have won 6 of 7 games to start the month of March, with their most recent victory coming in 101-98 fashion in Philadelphia (36-30).

Mitchell Leff | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – Off night for Victor Oladipo.

Off night for the Pacers shooting the three-point ball.

And yet, the Pacers still found a way to earn another vital road victory, over a playoff team, in the month of March.

Tuesday’s 101-98 win over the 76ers kept the Pacers (40-28) in the 3 seed of the Eastern Conference, while also giving them an important head-to-head tiebreaker over Philly (36-30).

“These guys just continue to fight,” Indiana head coach Nate McMillan said after his team’s 4th straight road win, all coming against Eastern Conference playoff teams.

“If there’s time on the clock they continue to fight. Tonight showed growth, playing in a hostile situation having to scrap and not give in to the adversity and play through it and continue to stay together and pulled out a big road win.”

The playoff intensity was alive and well in Philly, a place where the 76ers had won 11 straight---their longest such streak in more than 35 seasons.

In what could be a playoff preview in the first round, the Pacers had to resort to other options to stave off the 76ers.

Oladipo and Bojan Bogdanovic---Indiana’s two leading scorers---were just 5-of-22 from the floor, with the Pacers shooting an ugly 20.8 percent from three-point range, including 17 straight misses from long distance at one point.

Myles Turner saved the Pacers though, as he continued his strong play since the All-Star break.

Turner led Indiana with 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting, showing more signs of his ability to finish around the rim. The matchup for Turner on Tuesday was promising young big man Joel Embiid, who finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds.

On Tuesday, the Pacers built a double-digit first quarter lead and would not trail the rest of the way.

Things got a little close for comfort late, but Indiana still moved their record to 10-1 in games decided by three points or less this season.

With more at stake on Tuesday night than a normal regular season game, the Pacers once again looked like a team with no signs of this surprising season being derailed anytime soon.

“We knew that this game was going to be physical like this,” McMillan said after his team’s 40th win of the season. “It’s just that time of the season. I just like the fact that we were able to show growth and play through games like this.”

Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis did leave Tuesday’s win late in the third quarter with an ankle injury. X-rays on Sabonis’ left ankle were negative.


What’s Next: The Pacers (40-28) have 2 more difficult games left this week: Toronto (Thursday) and @Washington (Saturday).


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