Sixers begin life without MCW, welcome Pacers

( - Before the Indiana Pacers face a series of the NBA's elite, they will prep against the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night at Wells Fargo Center.

The Pacers and Sixers will get back to work after having some time off for the league's All-Star Game.

Indiana entered the break on a high note, having won four of five and six of the last nine games, and the schedule gets rough with three straight meetings with Golden State, Oklahoma City and Cleveland after this south Philly trip.

In last Wednesday's 106-93 victory at New Orleans, David West and George Hill scored 17 points apiece and the latter handed out nine assists. West had seven assists and five rebounds for a Pacers team that shot 53.3 percent and survived a 33-17 scoring barrage by the Pelicans in the fourth quarter.

"We played really well," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "We played a solid basketball game at both ends."

The outcome could have been different with a healthy Anthony Davis for the Pelicans. The All-Star missed the game with a shoulder contusion.

Rodney Stuckey scored 16 points off the bench in the win, Indiana's third in a row on the road. The Pacers' current road win streak comes on the heels of six consecutive defeats outside of Indy.

Stuckey is probable Friday with a sore back/thigh.

Philadelphia was busy before Thursday's trade deadline and dealt reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers, Bucks and Phoenix Suns completed a three-team trade that sent Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall to Phoenix, Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis to Milwaukee, and a draft pick to Philadelphia.

Carter-Williams thanked the fans and the city of Philadelphia on Twitter.

"I can't lie I'm shocked. I love this city thank you for everything. I can honestly say I gave it my all. I wish Philly nothing but the best."

The Sixers also acquired center JaVale McGee from the Denver Nuggets, who will also send a protected 2015 first-round pick, via Oklahoma City, and the rights to Chukwudiebere Maduabum to Philadelphia in exchange for the rights to Cenk Akyol.

The Houston Rockets acquired guards Pablo Prigioni and K.J. McDaniels in two separate deals prior to Thursday's trade deadline. The Rockets received Prigioni from the Knicks in exchange for guard Alexey Shved and their 2017 and 2019 second-round picks and sent guard Isaiah Canaan and a 2015 second-round pick to Philadelphia for McDaniels.

Philly is gunning for a top draft choice again and registered 12 wins prior to the All-Star break. It has won four of the past eight games after losing six in a row prior and was last in action on Feb. 9 in an 89-84 loss to the mighty Golden State Warriors.

Philadelphia hung tough with the high-powered and high-scoring Warriors, and held a 24-20 lead after the first quarter. The game continued to be tight throughout and the Sixers used a 12-0 run early in the fourth quarter, but they never cut the deficit to less than four points the rest of the way.

Robert Covington scored 13 of his game-best 21 points in the final stanza and Nerlens Noel collected 11 points, seven boards and four assists for Philadelphia, which committed 27 turnovers for 35 Golden State points.

Golden State had scored 100 or more points in 21 consecutive games.

"I'm so proud of our guy's defensive improvement, their attention to defense, they take pride in it and know that it is our identity," said Sixers coach Brett Brown.

The Sixers, who lead the NBA with 17.8 turnovers per game, have held eight of their last nine opponents under 100 points and will wrap up a three-game homestand (1-1) Friday night. After hosting the Pacers, Philly will visit Orlando, Miami and Milwaukee.

Philadelphia is 7-5 in the past 12 home games after losing the first 14 and are 7-19 overall as the host.

The 76ers and Pacers have split the first two meetings this season and will close the series March 1 in Indianapolis. Indiana had won four in a row against Philadelphia until a 93-92 loss on Jan. 10.