Pacers Links: Pacers look to bounce back on road against Jamaal Tinsley, Jazz

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of interesting storylines surround the Pacers game in Utah on Saturday night, including Jamaal Tinsley and Gordon Hayward playing big roles in Utah.

The Indiana Pacers remain on the road, spending Friday in Salt Lake City while preparing to play the Utah Jazz on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

Meanwhile, the Jazz were in Los Angeles getting rolled by the Lakers on Friday night. So with two days off and no late-night travel, the Pacers should have an advantage over the Jazz who will be playing a back-to-back game less than 24 hours after their loss in L.A. Thanks to the loss, though, the Pacers should find a Jazz team equally motivated to put a poor performance behind them.

The Pacers have done well in the games following bad losses, which is the situation they find themselves in after losing by 20 in Portland on Wednesday. There won't be any home cooking to help change the Pacers' fortunes, though. Instead a tough road environment awaits against a Jazz team that is 7-3 in their last ten games.

While the game should be good on its own merits, these additional storylines add even more intrigue.

- Pacers forward David West will play his first game in Utah since busting up his knee two years ago. Not sure West would agree, but that split-second in time changed the fortunes of the Pacers for the better (actually, the much better). The injury made West a risky free agent that put him in play for the Pacers to sign while gambling on his ability to return to a high level of play. That he did and continues to do while anchoring the Pacers as a playoff contender in the East.

- Former Butler star Gordon Hayward faces his hometown team as well as a player he will always be linked to in Paul George. The Jazz selected Hayward at no. 9 in the 2010 NBA draft, leaving the Pacers the player they wanted at no. 10 in Paul George. The Jazz pick also lifted any pressure the Pacers would've had to take Hayward and avoid the inevitable local firestorm had they taken the then unknown PG if Hayward was still on the board. The Pacers certainly wouldn't change a thing about the 2010 draft as PG is fresh off of earning his first All-Star appearance. As for Hayward, he plays a big role off the bench for the Jazz, averaging 13.5 points per game.

- As I mentioned above, the Jazz are playing well of late, winning seven of their last ten games. Well, they've been rolling along with former Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley starting at the point. Tins took over the starting role in late December when Mo Williams shredded his right thumb. Tinsley has been showing flashes of what made him such an entertaining player to watch on the court for the Pacers, if only he didn't do so much entertaining off the court. Still fun to watch.


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