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Pacers vs. Jazz Preview: Battle of NBA surprise teams in need of a win

The Pacers and Jazz have exceeded expectations early in the season, but both are now trying to keep the positive vibes flowing.

Indiana Pacers v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers (12-9) head to the mountains, well at least at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, to take on the Utah Jazz (13-11) in a battle of the NBA’s most surprising teams so far this season.

Maintaining that surprising pace is the the next step for both teams as they start hitting some adversity. The Jazz are a little further down the road on that test, having won just three of their last 11 games, which included a stretch of five consecutive losses, halted in their last game, a 125-112 win over the Clippers.

The Pacers are an Andrew Nembhard buzzer beater away from really sliding the wrong way on the road. However, they are merely in bounce-back mode against the Jazz, after one of the worst losses of the season in Sacramento on Wednesday. To make matters worse, Tyrese Haliburton showed up on the injury list as questionable with his balky ankle. Hali will be a game-time decision, as he was earlier in the season in a similar situation.

Local legend Mike Conley is listed a out for the Jazz with a knee strain that has had the former Lawrence North star out for the past six game in which the Jazz are 1-5.

Tyrese or not, the Pacers have shown amazing resiliency all season when it appears they may be headed the wrong way. Lauri Markkanen has been a revelation for the Jazz so far this season and should be the primary focus on the Pacers scouting report. We’ll see if they can rise to the task, once again.

DraftKings Odds: Jazz -4.5, O/U 239.5 (latest DraftKings odds here)

When: 9:00 p.m. ET

Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

TV: Bally Sports Indiana/Bally Sports + app

Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM

Projected Starting Lineups:

Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Aaron Nesmith, Buddy Hield, Jalen Smith, Myles Turner

Jazz: Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, Lauri Markkanen, Jarred Vanderbilt, Kelly Olynyk,

Injury update:

IND: Tyrese Haliburton - questionable (ankle), Jalen Smith - questionable (facial contusion), Chris Duarte - out (left ankle sprain), Daniel Theis - out (right knee surgery)

UTH: Mike Conley - out (left knee strain), Rudy Gay - out (left finger sprain)

Please share your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.