PreGame Chatter: Pacers vs. Sixers

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers will look to bounce back from their 108-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets that took place on Friday. Next on the schedule is the Philadelphia 76ers. 

The 76ers currently have the best record (14-6) in the Eastern Conference and will aim to preserve their lead over the second-place Brooklyn Nets. Meanwhile, the Pacers were bumped out of the top three and could get back in using a win in this game. 

Joel Embiid has played at an MVP level so far this season. However, he will not be available for the 76ers when they take on the Pacers. Philadelphia has an 0-4 record in the games they've played without their superstar big man this season. 

Here is what Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren had to say before the game: 

Mentality Facing an Elite Team

There isn't a team in the Eastern Conference that has a better record than the 76ers. The Pacers will prepare for this game as they would any other given they have strong preparation for all of their matchups. 

"I like the approach our players have to each and every game. They have a great focus in the film room, great focus on the walkthrough, great focus of every aspect leading up to the game. The 76ers, yes, any other team, all of the opponents that we play, I love our players' even approach to each and every team that we play." 

Doug McDermott's Status

During the Pacers' loss to the Hornets on Friday, Doug McDermott headed to the locker room early due to a back injury. Bjorkgren shared with reporters his belief that McDermott would play and he was later declared available. 

"Yeah I think so, I think he'll play. I'll check with him right before he does his court work, his pre-game work but I think he's ready to go. A lot of toughness with the guys on our team. They don't want to miss games."

Adjustments With Joel Embiid Sidelined

Prior to this game, the 76ers listed Joel Embiid as questionable on their official injury report -- meaning there was a chance he wouldn't play. Philadelphia ruled out Embiid a few hours before tip-off. Bjorkgren envisions the 76ers seeking to play fast and push the ball early.

"They are a very good team. They can play big, they can small with Howard, Simmons, Harris, Curry, Green, you name it. I'm missing a bunch of them, Maxey, Thybulle, Korkmaz, they've got a lot of weapons out there. We have to do a good job of keep playing team defense. 

"They want to score in transition. We have to be better in transition defense than they were in our previous games. It's really important tonight to get our defense back and ready and set. Simmons wants to throw that thing ahead and push it on the dribble and try to attack early, we have to take away their easy ones."