The Indiana Pacers will try to carry that momentum into a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night, which is arguably their best win of the season.
On Thursday, Indiana (32-38) defeated the host Milwaukee Bucks 139-123 to win for the fourth time in six games.
Philadelphia (47-22), a power in the Eastern Conference who has won seven straight games, is now the focus of the Pacers’ attention.
On Thursday, the Pacers, led by rookie Andrew Nembhard, scored a season-high 84 second-half points to snap a 10-game losing streak against the Bucks. In the victory, Nembhard scored a team-high 24 points.
With 12 games remaining, Indiana is half a game out of 10th place in the Eastern Conference heading into Saturday’s game. The play-in tournament will be won by teams seven through ten.
The fact that Indiana was without All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton and rookie Bennedict Mathurin because of right ankle sprains made the victory over Milwaukee even more surprising. On Saturday, both will be absent once more.
Nembhard scored the second most points of his career on Friday while Haliburton was out.
The first three meetings this season were among Indiana’s five losses against Philadelphia. On March 6, the Sixers, led by star Joel Embiid, defeated the Pacers 147-143. Embiid scored 42 points.
In a span of eight games, Philadelphia is currently playing seven games on the road. The Sixers will play a back-to-back set on Saturday, but because they beat the host Charlotte Hornets 121-82 on Friday, they were able to limit the minutes played by the starters. James Harden led the team with 31 points.
In just 29 minutes, Embiid scored 38 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He has scored at least 30 points in eight games in a row.
Harden recorded his fifth triple-double of the season, recording 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. 18 more were scored by Tobias Harris.
Due to a right hip contusion, Philadelphia forward Jalen McDaniels has missed the last two games and is listed as day-to-day.
The Sixers lead the No. 1 team by four games and are third in the Eastern Conference. Fourteen games remain for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Indiana, which defeated Milwaukee without overreacting, will continue the Sixers’ final stretch against them.