The surprising Indiana Pacers hope to have more good news before Friday night’s road game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Center Myles Turner, out since the season opener with a concussion, is hoping to return.
Turner warmed up before Wednesday’s 124-107 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers and will be re-evaluated prior to Friday’s game, according to the Indianapolis Star.
“I can’t wait to get out there, filling in as that missing piece,” Turner told the newspaper.
Without him — not to mention four-time All-Star Paul George, who was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason — the Pacers have gone 5-3. Their victory in Cleveland was their third straight.
All five starters scored in double figures in that game, led by ex-Sixer Thaddeus Young with 26 points. The Pacers also shot 54.4 percent from the field, including a blistering 61.5 percent (16 of 26) from 3-point range.
Darren Collison added 25 points, Victor Oladipo had 23 and Bojan Bogdanovic contributed 17. Domantas Sabonis, who has been filling in for Turner, generated 15 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for his third straight double-double.
“A win like this shows we’re coming together as a team,” Collison told the Star. “This early in the season, it’s kind of surprising, you know. But if we stick together and play the way we’ve been playing, the right way, we’ll be around in every single game we play.”
With Turner out, Young has been the only starter back from last year’s 42-40 team. Oladipo and Sabonis came over from Oklahoma City in the George trade, while Collison and Bogdanovic were signed as free agents.
The Sixers (4-4) ran their winning streak to three with a 119-109 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night as Robert Covington scored 22 points. Joel Embiid added 21 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, and Ben Simmons had 19, 13 and nine, respectively, helping Philadelphia reach the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 15, 2013.
“At times, we are great at both ends — at times,” Simmons said. “For us to get better, we have to be consistent. Communicating and knowing where the ball is at certain times is important.”
Simmons, the top overall pick in the 2016 draft, missed last season with a broken foot.
“I’m finding where I can score, where I can be effective,” Simmons said. “I’m still learning that part of the game. It’s coming to me a lot more.”
He added that he has “a lot more” to offer.
“I have to keep working hard and staying in the gym,” he said. “In a few years it’s going to be fun.”
In Embiid’s mind, it’s not all that bad now.
“We’re just getting better,” he said. “We’re a young team and, like I always say, that’s not an excuse, but we just have to keep on going and getting better.”
The Sixers hope to have backup center Richaun Holmes (broken wrist) for the first time this season against the Pacers. Guard Markelle Fultz (shoulder) has missed the last four games and the No. 1 overall draft pick is out indefinitely.