(PHILADELPHIA, PA) - The Indiana Pacers open the second half of their schedule with a Martin Luther King Day matinee this afternoon in Philadelphia.
The Pacers have lost five of their last seven after falling to the Sacramento Kings Saturday night at Conseco Fieldhouse. The blue-and-gold are 18-and-23 and are still in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind New Jersey for the final playoff berth in the East.
The Sixers are 16-and-25 and are 13th in the East, but just two games behind Indiana in the standings. Philadelphia has lost eight of their last ten.
The Pacers won the first meeting of the season between the two teams, beating the Sixers 102-85 at Conseco Fieldhouse on December 19th.
This afternoon's game is the first of a four-game road trip for Indiana.
The Pacers will be without all-star forward Jermaine O'Neal for at least two weeks with a bone bruise on his left knee. An MRI on Thursday revealed the damage, which is the latest in a string of setbacks since O'Neal underwent surgery on the knee last April.
O'Neal's absence will mean Troy Murphy will start while Jeff Foster and Ike Diogu will see more playing time. Diogu was activated for Saturday's loss against Sacramento. It was the first time he had been on the active list in four games.
The Pacers will get a big man back on Wednesday in Chicago when David Harrison's five-game suspension ends.
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