The Indiana Pacers finish preseason play on Friday nights when they host the Houston Rocket at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The Rockets are among the NBA rebuilding brethren which have welcomed the recently converted Pacers. However, Houston is a few steps ahead of the Pacers, having flushed any veteran value while letting the young talent on the roster develop on the fly. That group of young players includes Jalen Green, No. 2 overall pick in 2021 and Jabari Smith, No. 3 overall pick in 2022. Unfortunately, a sprained ankle is expected to keep the rookie Smith sidelined against the Pacers.
As for the Pacers, they continue mixing and matching lineups with that similar long game in mind. For instance, there may be a reason we haven’t seen Myles Turner playing with Isaiah Jackson thus far. Regardless, the play of rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard of late, showed that his team can b fun to watch without worrying about the scoreboard. Even when they do deliver a W!
The Pacers expect to miss Aaron Nesmith who is still dealing with plantar fascia issues, as well as Daniel Theis who continues recouping from EuroBasket play (which may be worse than Covid). Tyrese Haliburton also remains questionable with a lower back issue that appears to be a good reason to keep Tyrese fresh for opening night, but we shall see. Also, stay tuned for more ‘lower back issue’ type reports prior to tip time.
The Rockets will be without local legend, Eric Gordon who is likely not in the long term plans for the franchise and has been ‘resting’ through preseason. Hopefully, EJ gets a lifeline to a contender before the end of this season since, as far as ‘local legends’ go in my time in Indiana, he is among the top tier of legends I’ve seen dating back to his sophomore year at North Central.
DraftKings Odds: Rockets -1, O/U 226 (latest DraftKings odds here)
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
TV: Bally Sports Indiana/Bally Sports + app
Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Chris Duarte, Jalen Smith, Myles Turner
Rockets: Jalen Brunson, Cam Reddish, R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson
IND: Tyrese Haliburton - questionable (lower back), Aaron Nesmith - out (foot), Daniel Theis - out (rest)
HOU: Eric Gordon - out (rest), Daishen Nix - out (lower back tightness), Jabari Smith Jr. - out (left ankle sprain), Jae’Sean Tate - questionable (sore left ankle)
Please share your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.