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Clippers vs. Pacers Preview: Ringing in the New Year against Paul George and Clippers

The Pacers close out 2022 at home against a former face of the franchise.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Los Angeles Clippers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers (19-17) host a franchise legend in Paul George and his team the Los Angeles Clippers (21-16) in the annual New Year’s Eve matinee at the Fieldhouse.

So for those hoping to literally ring in the new year with PG, he will likely be doing that on Pacific Time later this evening after the Clips’ team flight. Regardless, there’s no better way to set off a New Year’s Eve than with the 3P tip at the Fieldhouse against a quality opponent.

Once again, the Pacers are underdogs heading into this one, just as they were in Boston and Miami and again, at home against the Hawks and Cavs (talk about a trend). Maybe the Pacers should be glad PG and Kawhi are not on the injury list, along with the other top players. That seems to be the only problem the Pacers have, facing a depleted roster on the other side. You know, like when these two teams met in L.A. with PG and Kawhi sitting and Ivica Zubac went for 31 points and 29 rebounds as the Clips rolled to a 114-100 win.

Still, this may be a different beast with both PG and Kawhi playing (disclaimer: assuming there are no late scratches). The Clippers are 11-4 in the 15 games Kawhi has played this season, so the recent improved play of the Pacers will be tested to the fullest.

That improved play of the Pacers with Buddy Hield dropping threes from all over, Aaron Nesmith lifting his level of play to help on the offensive end, Bennedict Mathurin remaining a major threat off the bench and of course, Tyrese Haliburton not just playing at an All-Star level but All-NBA level on most nights, makes taking a swing at the fully loaded Clippers a sweet matchup to wrap up a wild and crazy calendar 2022 for the Pacers.

DraftKings Odds: Clippers -3, O/U 230.5 (latest DraftKings odds here)

When: 3:00 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, Andrew Nembhard, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Myles Turner

Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac

IND: Daniel Theis - out (right knee surgery), Kendall Brown - out (right tibia stress reaction)

LAC: Nicolas Batum - questionable (sprained left ankle), Reggie Jackson -questionable (sore left Achilles), Brandon Boston Jr. - out (G League assignment), Jason Preston - out (G League assignment)

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