It has been a couple of weeks since the Pacers played at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, so it almost feels like opening night again, complete with the same opponent in the Wizards, who rolled past the Pacers 114-107 despite a spirited second half rally from the Pacers. That healthy Wizards team appeared to be a developing playoff contender at the time while the Pacers were who we thought they may be. But much has changed since the opener.
The Wiz have recently fallen to 11th in the East after losing four consecutive games and seven of their last ten. A team that looked like a promising playoff team on opening night has fallen on hard times with injuries continuing to cycle through the roster and an apparent miss in top pick, Johnny Davis dampening the future outlook.
A hamstring has Bradley Beal out indefinitely which is the biggest factor limiting the Wiz, while Kristaps Porzingis and Will Barton also have naggers that takes away more veteran depth when they are unable to play. Porzingis is questionable, so his availability will be key considering how he and Kyle Kuzma did harm to the Pacers in the opener, combining for 37 points and 23 rebounds against the Myles Turner-less Pacers front court.
The Pacers did beat the Wizards in a D.C. rematch, 127-117 with Turner delivering 27 and 10 to neutralize the impact of the big fellas. The Pacers also made 15 of 29 threes in that game.
The Pacers are favorites to win this game which is another indicator of how the fortunes of both teams has changed after the first 25 games.
DraftKings Odds: Pacers -5, O/U 233 (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, Andrew Nembhard, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Myles Turner
Wizards: Monte Morris, Corey Kispert, Deni Avdija, Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis
IND: Jalen Smith - questionable (sore right knee), Chris Duarte - out (ankle sprain), Daniel Theis - out (knee surgery)
WAS: Kristaps Porzingis - questionable (ankle), Will Barton - questionable (foot soreness), Bradley Beal - out (hamstring), Rui Hachimura - out (ankle), Delon Wright - out (hamstring)
Please share your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.