PACERS AT SIXERS, 7:30 PM ET

 TV: League Pass

— The Pacers are coming off Friday’s home loss to the Lakers, a game in which Kobe Bryant played only the first quarter because of an ankle sprain. “I think our guys were a little too amped up,” coach Frank Vogel said. “I think our adrenaline got the best of us.”

–Indiana, a distant second in the East to Miami, also lost decisively last weekend to the Heat. “Once that game was over, I really put them out of my mind,” Vogel said. “I know you see them on SportsCenter every night, with their (21-game winning) streak, and we admire what they’re doing. … But in terms of it bothering us or being frustrating to us, it’s really out of the picture, an afterthought to us right now. We know we’re not going to catch them for the 1-seed. Our whole focus is on winning the Central Division, and trying to secure the 2-seed.”

— The Sixers are wrapping up a week in which they beat Brooklyn and led Miami in the fourth quarter before losing. They also begin a road trip next week with games at the Clippers and Denver. “With our group, we’ve played some of our best basketball against the better teams,” he said, “and we’ve had some tough nights against some teams where you look at their records and you say, ‘You’re supposed to beat those teams.’ Our guys will be ready. They’ll compete tonight.”

–Sixers forward  Thaddeus Young is averaging 19.3 points in March, more than in any other month this season, and has poured in more than 20 in three of his last  four games. He said it was a blessing in disguise when he sat out six games last month with a hamstring pull, in that it allowed him to get his legs back. “Right now, I kind of have more energy than everybody else,” he said, “because everybody’s been playing, and I haven’t.”

 

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Timberwolves at 76ers, 7 p.m. ET

TV: League Pass

  • The game was the first of four at home for the Sixers, over a five-game stretch. That precedes a road-heavy beginning later this month, but coach Collins betrayed little concern. “I don’t think we play any differently, home or road,” he said. “I think when you do things consistently – if you defend, you don’t turn the ball and you do the things to help you win basketball games, whether at home or on the road — you can win anywhere.”
  • The Sixers are toying with the idea of sending rookie forward Arnett Moultrie to Sioux Falls of the NBA Developmental League. Moultrie, who was slowed in the offseason by an ankle injury, has appeared in just five games to date. “He needs to play,” Collins said. “There’s no question – he needs to get out there and play. … I really didn’t expect him to be a factor until January, after that ankle injury. He’s done some decent things for us, but he needs to get in shape, and the only way you do that is to play in games.”
  • While Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is averaging 21.7 points and 15.3 rebounds over six games since returning from a hand injury, he is shooting just 37 percent from the floor, and 19.4 percent from 3-point range. “That’s going to come around,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He has a history of being a very good shooter. … That will all come in time.”
  • The Sixers are without reserve guard Nick Young (toe), while the Timberwolves are without starting forward Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms). Josh Howard is starting in place of Kirilenko.
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HAWKS AT 76ERS, 7:30 ET

Hawks F Tracy McGrady didn’t make the trip because he’s still sick. F Jerry Stackhouse also wasn’t with the team to attend to a family emergency.

Despite Atlanta’s recent success, coach Larry Drew says his room can play better. The Hawks have won seven of 10 and hold the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. “We haven’t played consistent long enough,” Drew said. “We wanna finish strong, be playing strong toward the end and carry that momentum.”

Sixers coach Doug Collins had a sleepless night after a blowout loss to Washington on Friday night knocked Philadelphia out of first place and all the way down to seventh in the East. “I didn’t sleep a lot,”  Collins said. “I rested. I layed in bed and did a lot of thinking. I got to find a way to get us to be more consistent. That’s the most disconcerting thing.”

Since a 20-9 start, the Sixers are 8-14. Collins isn’t contemplating any lineup changes, however. He already made a big move, inserting Evan Turner into the starting lineup and moving Jodie Meeks to the bench. “I think we are going through growing pains,” Collins said. “I still think we are adjusting to the change I made before. We now are in a position where hopefully we can get in a rhythm.”

The Hawks are looking for their first win in their third and final game against Philadelphia this season. Both losses were by double-digit margins. “You look at both games and see the areas where you have to improve on,” Drew said. 

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HAWKS AT 76ERS, 7:30 ET

March 31, 2012

Hawks F Tracy McGrady didn’t make the trip because he’s still sick. F Jerry Stackhouse also wasn’t with the team to attend to a family emergency.

Despite Atlanta’s recent success, coach Larry Drew says his room can play better. The Hawks have won seven of 10 and hold the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. “We haven’t played consistent long enough,” Drew said. “We wanna finish strong, be playing strong toward the end and carry that momentum.”

Sixers coach Doug Collins had a sleepless night after a blowout loss to Washington on Friday night knocked Philadelphia out of first place and all the way down to seventh in the East. “I didn’t sleep a lot,”  Collins said. “I rested. I layed in bed and did a lot of thinking. I got to find a way to get us to be more consistent. That’s the most disconcerting thing.”

Since a 20-9 start, the Sixers are 8-14. Collins isn’t contemplating any lineup changes, however. He already made a big move, inserting Evan Turner into the starting lineup and moving Jodie Meeks to the bench. “I think we are going through growing pains,” Collins said. “I still think we are adjusting to the change I made before. We now are in a position where hopefully we can get in a rhythm.”

The Hawks are looking for their first win in their third and final game against Philadelphia this season. Both losses were by double-digit margins. “You look at both games and see the areas where you have to improve on,” Drew said. 

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Heat at 76ers, 7:00 p.m. ET

TV: Comcast SportsNet, Sun Sports, League Pass

— Before Wednesday’s game at Philadelphia, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was peppered with questions about Tuesday’s 88-80 loss at Boston. … “Sometimes you have to get uncomfortable to take a couple of steps forward.”

— Spoelstra said that recently-signed guard Jerry Stackhouse would be active against the Sixers.

— LeBron James, on bouncing back after an opening night loss: “In the NBA, you can always redeem yourself the next night.”

— Despite a right wrist sprain, 76ers guard Andre Iguodala participated in Wednesday’s shootaround and was deemed ready to go in the season opener against the Heat. Iguodala was expected to be joined in the starting lineup with point guard Jrue Holiday, forwards Jason Kapono and Elton Brand along with center Spencer Hawes.

— Still, Iguodala didn’t practice on Tuesday and was unsure how much playing time he would get on opening night.

— Lost in the Heat’s loss at Boston on Tuesday was this: they blocked six shots, continuing an impressive streak of recording at least one blocked shot in 210 straight games. It is the second-longest streak in franchise history, trailing only a 238-game stretch from March 30, 1997-Nov. 24, 2000.

— Miami swept the season series, 4-0, last year against the Sixers and is just 13-31 in games played in Philadelphia.

— Sixers coach Doug Collins missed two preseason games with a bout of vertigo related to a concussion he suffered on Memorial Day in Phoenix. Collins fainted in a coffee shop and also broke three ribs. … “I feel good,” Collins said. “My dizziness has gone away.”

— Andy Jasner

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