LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – T.J. Warren scored a career-high 53 points, Victor Oladipo added 15 after reversing course on opting out of the NBA restart and the Indiana Pacers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 127-121 on Saturday night.
A sixth-year player acquired from Phoenix in an offseason trade, Warren was 20 of 29 from the field and 9 of 12 from 3-point range in his first game with at least 50 points. All four of those shooting numbers were career highs.
“I just wanted to be aggressive, do what I do best,” Warren said. “My teammates did a great job of finding me, and just staying aggressive and locked in and engaged was really key for us.”
The Pacers (40-26) took control of the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference by breaking a tie with the 76ers and winning the season series. Both teams have clinched playoff spots.
Joel Embiid had 41 points and 21 rebounds for the Sixers, who couldn't hang on after turning a 10-point deficit late in the first half into a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Before the pandemic-forced shutdown, Philadelphia had lost 10 of its past 11 games away from home.
Tobias Harris scored 30 points for Philadelphia, and Ben Simmons had 19 points and 13 rebounds.
But the leading trio for the Sixers wasn't enough to overcome Warren, who matched a franchise record with 19 points in the first quarter.
“Give him credit; he was hot,” Harris said. “But too many times, we guarded him like he wasn’t on fire. We gave him too much space, just not enough credit for his ability to score. He punished us tonight from the beginning of the game on.”