The Pacers (14-24) returned home on the struggle bus after losing their fifth consecutive game in New York, only to face the Nets (23-12) on a back-to-back at the Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.
Not only have the good guys lost five consecutive despite some quality play from make-shift lineups, but their injury list remains phone book thick. Late decisions on Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb could help fortify the playing rotation, but Brogdon was dealing with an Achilles when he entered the health and safety protocol, so his status is certainly still in question. Oh, and regardless of who is updated to active for the Pacers, they have to play a healthy and surly Nets team.
Everything about the Nets is on a different level than the Pacers this season including the struggles they are enduring of late trying to play as the elite title contender they are. With a relatively healthy roster, the Nets have lost three consecutive games. Steve Nash called their last effort in a loss to Memphis ‘embarrassing’ and Kevin Durant laid out similar sentiments after prior losses. Kyrie Irving returns which on paper should help, but there’s some obvious emotional baggage surrounding Kyrie.
Durant has been the constant for the Nets while James Harden has been fluctuating in potency which is an absolute absurd statement considering his nearly 23 ppg, 8 rebs and just shy of 10 assists PER GAME. Yep, the Nets’ problems are on a different level.
So here we are in the midst of a lethal stretch of the schedule and the Pacers will take a swing at the “struggling” Nets with all of the klieg lights focused on Kyrie Irving. Yikes, I shudder to think what Kevin Durant can do in the shadows.
DraftKings Odds: Nets -8.5, O/U 224
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
When: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TV: Bally Sports Indiana
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Keifer Sykes, Duane Washington Jr, Justin Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner
Nets: Kyrie Irving, James Harden, DeAndre Bembry, Kevin Durant, Nic Claxton
IND: Goga Bitadze - out (health and safety protocols), Malcolm Brogdon - out (return to play reconditioning), Chris Duarte - out (health and safety protocols), Isaiah Jackson - out (health and safety protocols), Jeremy Lamb - out (return to play reconditioning), Caris LeVert - out (health and safety protocols), Kelan Martin - out (health and safety protocols), T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), T.J. Warren – out (health and safety protocols)
BKN: LaMarcus Aldridge - questionable (sore right foot), Joe Harris - out (left ankle surgery)
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.