INDIANAPOLIS - Doug Collins said at this morning's shootaround that he expects tonight's matchup with the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse to have a playoff feel.
It actually will feel that way much more for the Pacers, who enter the game 27-35 and are in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference but five games behind the Sixers (32-30), and only a game and a half ahead of Charlotte.
So if the Pacers have any realistic chance of catching the Sixers with 20 games left for both teams including tonght, they have to win.
The Sixers meanwhile are more worried about what is in front of them than behind, trailing the very catchable New York Knicks by a game.
"We have to come out here tonight and take care of business and I am curious to see how the guys react," Collins said.
Collins said it's important to defend the screen and roll realizing how much Pacers point guard Darren Collison torched them in their most recent game. Collison had 21 points, 13 assists and just one turnover in the Pacers 111-103 victory on Jan. 11 at the Wells Fargo Center.
In addition to the screen and roll, the Sixers have to do a better job defending against the three pointer. The Pacers were 8 for 16 in last game, although they will be without Mike Dunleavy who has a broken left thumb. Dunleavy scored 15 of his 20 points in that last game in the first quarter. For the game, he shot 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.
His absence means that the Pacers could be looking to drive to the basket more.
One other stat to note - Indiana has a 39-29 edge in offensive rebounding in winniingntwo of the three this year against the Sixers. So keeping the likes of Roy Hibbert off the offensive glass will be another key.
The Sixers have won four of their last five road games. Keeping this hot streak won't be easy, especially against a Pacers squad that is the much more desperate team considering their place in the standings.
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