The Pacers (14-25) are back in action at the Fieldhouse after a couple of days off when they host the Jazz (28-11) on Saturday night.
The Pacers had arguably their best win of the season at Utah earlier in the year which seems like a season or so ago, considering all of the roster changes and COVID upheaval both teams have endured since that beautiful 110-100 win in early November. Malcolm Brogdon had 30. TJ McConnell chipped in 21 off the bench.
Remember TJ? Was that really this season? Things change.
This game makes a mockery of looking ahead at a team’s schedule strength. On paper, the Jazz have been among the elite teams in the league, losing just four games in their last 20. But the bulk of that same team won’t be available for Utah at the Fieldhouse. In fact, it appears the normal starting unit will be out to to injury and/or health and safety protocol.
Plus, the Jazz played in Toronto on Friday, losing 122-109, so the road back-to-back under these circumstances should certainly favor the Pacers considering their lengthy injury list has a few ‘questionables’ instead of ‘outs’ this time. According to Rick Carlisle, Jeremy Lamb and Chris Duarte will be available but Malcolm Brogdon remains out. Carlisle wouldn’t commit to any lineup changes, so we’ll see what happens at tip time.
As for the Jazz, their late-breaking news prior to tip is even more positive with Royce O’Neale, Ruday Gay, Bojan Bogdanovic and Donovan Mtichell all activive, leaving them without Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles.
Regardless, the Jazz were favored to win prior to the game-time news by the pros who handicap games which is equally hard to fathom and yet fully understandable this season. Domantas Sabonis has been playing at an All-Star level through the recent six-game losing streak. Some consistent help may from Myles Turner or anyone really, would help allay some of the bookmakers disrespect.
DraftKings Odds: Nets -5, O/U 225
When: 7:00 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
Jazz: Jared Butler, James Forrest, Elijah Hughes, Eric Paschall, Hassan Whiteside
IND: Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (return to play reconditioning), Justin Anderson - out (health and safety protocols), Goga Bitadze - out (health and safety protocols), Torrey Craig - out (health and safety protocols), Isaiah Jackson - out (health and safety protocols), Caris LeVert - out (health and safety protocols), T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), T.J. Warren – out (health and safety protocols)
UTH: Jordan Clarkson – questionable (lower back tightness), Mike Conley – out (right knee injury recovery), Rudy Gobert – out (health and safety protocols), Joe Ingles – out (health and safety protocols)
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.