Aug 02, 2020
Joel Embiid Scores 41 Points, But T.J. Warrens Career-High 53 Paces Indiana Past 76ers
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — T.J. Warren scored a career-high 53 points, Victor Oladipo added 15 after reversing course on opting out of the NBA restart and the Indiana Pacers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 127-121 on Saturday night. A sixth-year player acquired from Phoenix in an offseason trade, Warren was 20 of 29 from the field and 9 of 12 from 3-point range in his first game with at least 50 points.
The Pacers (40-26) took control of the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference by breaking a tie with the 76ers and winning the season series. Both teams have clinched playoff spots.
Joel Embiid had 41 points and 21 rebounds for the Sixers, who couldn’t hang on after turning a 10-point deficit late in the first half into a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Before the pandemic-forced shutdown, Philadelphia had lost 10 of its past 11 games away from home.
Tobias Harris scored 30 points for Philadelphia, and Ben Simmons had 19 points and 13 rebounds.
The Pacers got the restart-opening win without two starters. Domantas Sabonis left the bubble with a left foot injury a week ago and is out indefinitely. Malcolm Brogdon, who had recovered from a COVID-19 infection that was announced on June 24, missed the game with a neck injury sustained in final scrimmage game before the restart.
Myles Turner, who scored nine points before fouling out, made his only 3-point attempt to put Indiana up for good at 110-107 with 4:34 remaining. Harris hit a 3 in the final minute before a long clinching 3 from Warren.
Oladipo joined his teammates in Florida after initially staying home and said he was practicing with the intent to play. But there wasn’t any official word until coach Nate McMillan said before the game the seventh-year guard was starting.
76ers: Embiid and Shake Milton had to be separated during an argument near the bench after the first quarter. Matisse Thybulle pulled Milton away as the guard charged toward the big man while yelling. … The Sixers were down 35-29 after the first and had eight turnovers, including two each from Embiid and Milton. … Embiid’s 21 rebounds were one off his career high.
Pacers: Warren’s previous career high was 40 points at Washington on Nov. 1, 2017. … Aaron Holiday matched Oladipo with 15 points and had 10 assists.
76ers: San Antonio on Monday.
Pacers: Washington on Monday.
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NBA Sees Seven of the Eight First-Round Matchups Set
By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Basketball Writer
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The NBA playoff bracket is nearly set.
Wednesday’s results filled in five of what were the six unknown matchups for Round 1 of the postseason, which starts next week at Walt Disney World.
In the Western Conference: Houston and Oklahoma City will meet in the first round, meaning Rockets guard Russell Westbrook and Thunder guard Chris Paul get the chance to face their former teams.
“It’ll be interesting,” Paul said. “Two teams that know a lot about each other. We’ll prepare, get ready and we’ll see what’s what.”
Other West matchups that got clinched on Wednesday include the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers against No. 7 Dallas, and No. 3 Denver against No. 6 Utah.
In the East, Miami and Indiana will meet in the first round — after the clubs close the regular season on Friday against one another to decide which team will be seeded No. 4 and which will be No. 5.
Indiana’s win over Houston on Wednesday set what had been the last two unknown series on the East bracket. No. 3 Boston will play No. 6 Philadelphia in a meeting between longtime rivals, and the Pacers are now locked into an East opening series against the Heat — with the potential of those teams playing nine times in a span of 10 games.
Miami beat Indiana on Monday. The teams meet again Friday then face off in Game 1 to begin a best-of-seven series early next week.
That means, for just the second time since 2011, teams that end the regular season against one another will open the postseason against one another. The last time it happened was 2016, when Cleveland faced Detroit.
“It’s good to know that we play them,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Just need to figure out what uniform we’re wearing.”
That will be decided Friday, when home-uniform advantage gets decided.
“We’ve got to match Miami’s energy,” Indiana’s Edmond Sumner said. “That’s a team that’s going to play hard for 48 minutes.”
The other East matchups were known previously: No. 1 Milwaukee plays No. 8 Orlando, and No. 2 Toronto plays No. 7 Brooklyn.
In the West, Houston and Oklahoma City will be in the 4-5 matchup and Utah will be the No. 6 seed. The Jazz were locked into that slot by the Thunder defeating Miami, and Denver became the No. 3 seed when they lost to the Clippers.
The full list of matchups won’t be known until at least Saturday, when the West play-in series begins with Portland, Memphis, Phoenix and San Antonio bidding for those two spots. The winner of that series will take on the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, the only matchup that's yet to be determined.
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