INDIANAPOLIS – The 76ers broke their road jinx and a losing streak here that goes back more than 41/2 years.
Wednesday night's 100-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers marked the Sixers first road win in six tries this season. This also marked their first victory at Banker Life Fieldhouse since April 17, 2013.
Dario Saric had a huge hand in the Sixers' victory. The power forward broke out of his shooting slump to score 18 points while making four of six 3-pointers. He came into the game shooting just 23.2 percent on 3-pointers and 34 percent from the field.
Joel Embiid had 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Ben Simmons added 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. JJ Redick had 10 points off the bench.
Coming in, playing on the road was a recurring nightmare for the Sixers. They lost their first five road games to the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, and Brooklyn Nets.
Meanwhile, Indiana had been a house of horrors for the Sixers (7-5). They had lost eight straight games here before Wednesday night.
The win, however, serves a confidence boost for a team that will embark on a three-game road trip following Friday's home game against the Charlotte Hornets. They'll head to Memphis Grizzlies Saturday before facing the Miami Heat on Monday. The Sixers will conclude the road trip next Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic.
Robert Covington finished with 13 points despite being listed as questionable Wednesday morning with lower-back soreness. Wilson Chandler finished with two points and five rebounds in 15:22 of action in his second game of the season. The reserve small forward missed the first nine games of the season with a strained left hamstring. He made his debut in Saturday's home game against the Pistons and sat out Sunday's road game at the Brooklyn Nets.
Victor Oladipo had a season-high 36 points for Indiana.
The Sixers jumped on the Pacers early, making six of their first seven shots to take a 13-2 advantage with 8 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first quarter. They went on to extend their cushion to 15 points (19-4) after a Simmons dunk at the 5:55 mark of the quarter.
The Pacers, however, got back into the game and trailed by six, 29-23, after one quarter. They were able to come back thanks to Oladipo, who scored 15 of his points in the quarter.
Indiana (7-5) opened the second quarter on a 13-4 run to take a 36-33 lead after Domantas Sabonis' turnaround jumper with 7:16 left in the half.
The teams were tied at 50 at halftime. Saric and Simmons combined to score 10 of the Sixers' first 11 points of the second half. Simmons' foul shot with 7:08 left in quarter gave Philly a 61-56 advantage.
The Sixers went on to extend their lead to eight (78-70) after Covington's 3-pointer with 54 seconds left in the quarter. And they were up 17 (92-75) following Saric's fourth 3-pointer with 7:32 remaining in the game.
The Pacers got as close as six points late in the game.
The Sixers hope this is a victory they can build on.
Redick wants the Sixers to keep in mind that this is the beginning of the season. He pointed out that the team didn't hit its stride until the later part of last season.
"We are working through some things right now," Redick said. "We'll be fine."
However, last season's turnaround had a lot to do with signing Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova to free-agent deals in February. Ilyasova signed on Feb. 28, two weeks after Belinelli. The team went 20-3 down the stretch, winning their final 16 regular-season games after Ilyasova rejoined the squad.
One has to assume that the Sixers are eyeing similar additions this season via a trade or signing player after they clear waiver wires.