Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with 19 points on 7-for-22 shooting. Holiday got 12 of his points during the fourth quarter. He also had four assists and five turnovers. … Rookie Arnett Moultrie scored a career-high 12 points in 21 minutes. Moultrie had 18 points all season going into the game. … Lavoy Allen also contributed 12 points off the bench. … The 69 points is the fewest scored by the Sixers since scoring 67 on April 5, 2009 in New Jersey. … The Sixers are 10-2 when holding the opposition under 90 points. … The Sixers are shooting 67 percent from the line over the past two games. However, they are just 8 for 12 from the line during that span. … Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 18 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. … Evan Turner shot 1 for 10 in the loss and has scored just 20 points in the last four games.
Playing their third game in as many nights, the Indiana Pacers looked reasonably fresh during their 88-69 victory at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night (see Instant Replay). It was the 76ers who looked stale.
“We looked like the team that played 10 games in 10 nights,” head coach Doug Collins said. “That’s the kind of energy we played with.”
The Sixers’ energy appeared to have vanished without power forward Thad Young in the lineup. Out for at least three weeks with a Grade I hamstring strain, Young is the Sixers’ “most important player,” according to Collins. Young usually guards the opposition’s best offensive player, he always fills the lanes on the fast break and he might be the best in the NBA at blowing up pick-and-roll plays on defense.
Without Young the Sixers had no spark, nor anyone to battle against Indiana’s big frontcourt. Early in the first quarter it appeared as if the Sixers shifted to a zone defense to help against the pick-and-roll and the low-post offense. However, Collins said he didn’t send in a zone.
“Maybe we were just standing around,” Collins said. “It looked like we were playing zone.”
Not only did the lethargic Sixers score a season-low 69 points, but also they shot 34.4 percent from the floor, made just 22 of 50 shots in the paint and attempted just seven foul shots. It was the fourth time in the last five games that the Sixers attempted fewer than 10 free throws.
Of course it didn’t help that the Sixers’ starting five shot 15 for 59 (25.4 percent) from the floor in the loss.
“I just don’t think we hit shots,” leading scorer Jrue Holiday understated. “I think we got good shots and obviously it’s a reoccurring issue, but we got good shots. We just have to knock them down.”
Certainly stringing together a handful of shots would have helped. That’s especially the case since the Sixers trailed by only three points at the half despite shooting just 31 percent. However, the Sixers shot just 7 for 22 during the third quarter, with six of those buckets coming from inside the paint.
Actually, the Sixers made just four shots from outside the paint during the second half. The good part about that is the Sixers got shots close to the basket. The bad part is those shots were easily defended by the Pacers’ big men.
“Early in the game I just kept telling our guys to push the ball up the floor quickly. Get some early offense,” Collins said. “We dribbled too much and didn’t move the ball side to side. [The Pacers] can get you in the mud and that’s what they did tonight. They got us where we just stood around and they can throw that ball in the post and pound you.”
Still, the Sixers held an opponent to under 90 points for the fourth straight game. Of course, that opponent played three games in three nights and four games in five nights.
“I never felt like it was easy during the game,” Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said about the victory. “Obviously, they’re undermanned -- you have to call it the way it is. Losing Thaddeus Young is a big blow for them, but you still need to go out and win. They have an All-Star running the show for them.”
Gone is the Sixers’ three-game winning streak. At 21-27, the Sixers fell to four games behind the Celtics for the No. 8 seed in the East. They will attempt to start another winning streak on Saturday night when the Charlotte Bobcats come to town.