By Annie Ross
The Sixers literally turned this game over to the Indiana Pacers.
And with it, a chance to move up in the Eastern Conference playoff race in an atmosphere that had postseason written all over it.
Myles Turner sank 9 of 12 shots and scored 25 points as Pacers beat the Sixers 101-98 before a raucous Wells Fargo Center crowd.
Sixers center Joel Embiid missed a 3-pointer at the final buzzer that would have tied the game.
The biggest reason the Sixers lost was the 21 turnovers they committed. The Pacers committed just nine.
“Some of the turnovers were self-inflicted,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “Too many of them happened (during a fast break). I’d be curious to go back and watch the tape and see how many happened in the first three to four seconds of a shot clock. The turnovers were the single thing that influences this game.”
The Sixers (36-30) are sixth in the East. The Pacers (40-28) are No. 3. These teams could meet again in the first round of the playoffs next month.
Indiana grabbed the lead midway through the first quarter and never trailed again.
Embiid scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds but had eight turnovers. Ben Simmons had a triple double — 10 points, 13 rebounds and a 10 assists. Dario Saric scored 18 points but committed five turnovers.
“We have to get better with some individuals,” Brown said when asked about the turnovers. “As a team, we have to get better. Some if I have to own. We are improving. Tonight wasn’t one of those nights.”
The Sixers played good defense. The Pacers shot 40 percent — 38 for 95 — from the field. Indiana standout guard Victor Oladipo sank just 4 of 21 shots and scored 11 points.
But the turnovers again negated that defensive effort. Philly made 35 of 75 shots, but it’s hard to win a game when your opponent takes 20 more shots.
“We’re up and down,” Brown said. “We make not-wise decisions.”
The loss ended the Sixers’ 11-game home-court winning streak and continued a season long trend.