Indianapolis vs Philadelphia: Pacers Frontcourt & Officials Bury Sixers

Professor BushCorrespondent IIIMarch 14, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 08:  Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 8, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers traveled to Indiana to face the Pacers in a game with important playoff implications. Spencer Hawes finally returned to the lineup for the Sixers. But that was not enough to contain the Pacers frontcourt, which overpowered the Sixers.

The Sixers led 29-24 after the first quarter, but Tyler Hansbrough started to cause some matchup problems and he led the Pacers back in the second quarter.

At the half, the Pacers held a 54-51 lead. George Hill hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pacers an eight-point lead after three quarters. The Sixers were not able to make a serious run in the fourth quarter and the Pacers won 111-94.

In recent games the Sixers had faced the Celtics, who were too tired to play, and the Knicks who just don't play defense. Tonight was a different story, the Pacers came to play.

In addition, the Sixers were hampered by some questionable officiating. The Sixers were called for 21 fouls, while the Pacers were called for only eight.

Danny Granger led the Pacers with 20 points and seven rebounds.

Jrue Holiday, whose shooting had been off earlier in the month, has regained his touch. He went 7-for-8 from the field. Ivan Turner led the Sixers with 21 points and five rebounds. Lou Williams was off the mark tonight, going 3-for-11 from the field.

It was also a tough night for Nikola Vucevic against the Pacers' frontcourt. On consecutive plays in the third period, he was called for a three second violation, a defensive foul and then had a shot blocked shot.

Mercifully, Doug Collins got him out of the game quickly after that. When he returned in garbage time, he had another shot blocked. Vucevic has only scored six points total in the last three games.

The Sixers have two games left with the Pacers late in April, which could also have important playoff positioning implications. Maybe in these games, the Sixers will get a little more balanced officiating and  Lou Williams will have his shooting touch.