The Sixers had to grind it out to pick up their fifth win in a row and improve to 6-2.
They relied on their defense to pull out the 96-86 win over the Pacers. On a night where they were turnover prone (18), they held their opponent to 36.6 percent shooting.
It was not a game where they could slam the door on Indiana because the Pacers made timely plays to hang around. There was also a stretch in the second quarter where the Pacers were the defensive aggressors.
The Sixers scored six straight points to start the second quarter, but the sloppiness reared its ugly head. They turned the ball over four times and Indiana went on a 9-0 run before Spencer Hawes made a 12-footer at the 5:29 mark to stop the bleeding.
Fortunately, the Sixers defense was stingy and steady, holding the Pacers to 38 percent shooting in the first half, allowing the home team to lead 45-40 at the break.
Maybe in the very near future we will come to expect Nik Vucevic to provide 11 points, eight rebounds and three-point shooting. But in the first half when Elton Brand and Hawes were a combined 3 of 6 and had totaled six rebounds, Vucevic was a huge lift.
He played 11 first-half minutes and was 4 of 5 from the floor for eight points. He also had six rebounds.
Drafting Vucevic is turning out to be a very intelligent pick. It bears repeating that the rookie, who played three years of college basketball at USC, has a real knack for finding the ball.
Vucevic comes from good basketball genes. Both his mom and dad were very skilled basketball players. His father had a 24-year professional career in Europe and his mother played professionally in Bosnia.
Follow the leader
Andre Iguodalas court vision was superb. He knew when to take it to the basket and when to give up to one of his teammates. Iguodala was the lone Sixer in double figures at halftime with 12 points.
Iguodala, when he is at his best, fills out the stat sheet as he did on Monday with 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists and he got to the foul line early.
In the win over Toronto Saturday night, Thaddeus Young had two fourth-quarter blocks. After the game, he said the one on center Amir Johnson was among his best ever because he is not a shot blocker, rather a charge taker.
Young, in another outstanding performance, took four charges against the bigger more physical frontcourt players of the Pacers.
Those three charges dont register high up on the stat sheet but are significant. Youngs line read just fine without the charges. He made 6 of 7 field goal attempts (12 pts), grabbed eight rebounds, had two steals and a block shot.
Meanwhile, Jrue Holiday had a statistical nightmare. He went nearly two-and-a-half quarters before notching his first assist. He unfortunately set a new season high for turnovers with seven and he shot just 4 for 12 from the floor. He did score an important three-pointer in the fourth quarter to put the Sixers up, 88-80.
Take a bow
Late in the first quarter, Iguodala collected an offensive rebound and saw an open Lou Williams behind the arc. Williams made the shot, giving Iguodala an assist and because No. 9 was pushed to the ground when the ball was in the air, he also went to the foul line to shoot a free throw.
What a cool four-point play, which also equaled four second-chance points.
The Sixers play the Sacramento Kings at home Tuesday night in the middle game of their back-to-back to-back set.
Sacramento did not play Monday night. The Kings come to the Wells Fargo Center with a 3-6 record. They are winless on the road in three tries thus far.
Chester native Tyreke Evans is Sacramentos second leading scorer with 17 points per game. Amazingly, he is also their leading assist man with just 3.8 per game.
It is the only meeting between the two teams this season.