By Sally Fahey
You know that trope about the Sixers not being able to win on the road?
Joel Embiid scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Ben Simmons flirted with a triple double, leading the visiting Sixers past Indiana 100-94.
“I’m excited that we got our first road win this year,” coach Brent Brown said. “We were pleased to get a win, especially after a performance we wanted to forget (at Brooklyn).”
Despite going 6-0 at home, the 76ers were 0-5 on the road, losing by an average of 15.2 points. And they had lost eight straight at Indiana, dating to a victory on April 17, 2013.
So just three nights after an inexplicable 25-point loss at Brooklyn, Embiid, Simmons and their teammates felt right at home in one of coach Brent Brown’s favorite NBA arenas.
Embiid collected his league-high 11th double-double on what he called an off night. Simmons had 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and Dario Saric scored a season-high 18 points by going 4 for 6 on 3-pointers.
And they did it by simply sticking to the plan.
They quickly jumped to a 19-9 lead, weathered Indiana’s rally, then regained control by closing the third quarter on a 6-1 flurry and opened the fourth with a decisive 16-7 run. When it ended on Simmons’ breakaway layup with 6:04 to play, Philadelphia led 94-77.
“We were just overthinking things,” Simmons said. “We were putting too much pressure on ourselves. We finally put it together.”
The victory spoiled Victor Oladipo’s best night of the season.
He scored 24 points in the first half on 10 of 16 shooting and finished with a season-high 36 points. He also had seven assists, six rebounds and three blocks.
But Oladipo and Domnatas Sabonis, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds, needed more help from their supporting cast to avoid losing their second straight home game. And when they didn’t get it, the 76ers took advantage.
“We just didn’t hit shots tonight, honestly,” Oladipo said. “I think we just need to loosen up a little bit and go back to playing free basketball.”