Sixers Try to Keep Distancing Themselves from 8th Seed Indiana

Sixers Try to Keep Distancing Themselves from 8th Seed Indiana

The Sixers took on a mediocre Warriors team on Sunday night and ended up needing overtime to get the win. They'll play another struggling team tonight, the Indiana Pacers, who have lost three in a row and seven of their last ten. The Pacers currently sit five games back of the Sixers in the Eastern Conference standings and the closest team outside looking in, Charlotte, is another 1.5 games behind them.

The Sixers have been known to play to their competition lately, hanging tough with the likes of the Spurs and Mavericks while also playing tight games with the Warriors and Cavs.

Evan Turner, who is coming off one of his best games as a pro, is taking things one day at a time and not resting on his breakout performance.

“I look at today, that’s pretty much it. One game at a time,” Turner told Dei Lynam. “That’s all you can do. You have to finish off every step of the way and not look forward. I forgot who we were playing before I got here until you guys mentioned it. I just try to prepare one day at a time.”

One of the more exciting matchups to look for this evening is the always entertaining battle between the two UCLA guards. Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison are both have nice seasons, but the Pacers guard has been having some trouble adjusting to the Indiana's losing ways.

7:00 scheduled start tonight from Indiana. TCN on your TV.

>>Tough road awais Sixers [CSN]

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."