Pacers try to get right on the road against Rockets
What kind of playing rotation changes will we see in Houston?
Yep, it doesn’t feel like a Tuesday but here we are with the Pacers back in action after two days off, facing the Rockets in Houston. That second day off was cut short by the travel day but there’s no doubt the Pacers continued working through the holiday in an effort to get synced up in an effort to start rolling in a positive direction once again.
Rick Carlisle made his weekly appearance on The Fan on “The Wake Up Call w/KB & Andy” which is often an interesting convo with the coach. Carlisle revealed that Bruce Brown will remain out for the matchup and it appears that Brucie B is the only name on the injury list.
Andrew Nembhard is expected to fill in the starting role as he did on Saturday against Magic. The Pacers ran with Aaron Nesmith along with the starters for a couple of short stints in the second half against Orlando. That 5-man group that was a solid starting group last season, seems like a lineup to lean on in these current lean times to try to get more balanced effort. In 16 minutes together, which seems crazy low, they are +33 with a 110.8 defensive rating.
The Rockets might be the perfect, or at least a good, matchup to extend the minutes of that group since Houston’s size in the starting lineup isn’t as long as the teams the Pacers have struggled against lately. Houston does have plenty of dynamic talent both in the starting lineup and on the bench, so effort and execution have to be on point.
When asked about Jarace Walker and being close to getting more minutes. Carlisle dodged a direct answer, but did say, “Everything is on the table.” He went on to say that we will find out that he’s very serious about that, very soon, which I took to mean altering the rotation in general, not making room for Walker.
The schedule is a bit spicey before the Pacers move into 2024. The Rockets are 15-12 and a tough matchup with the emergence of center Alperen Sengun showing consistent glimpses of Nikola Jokic. Plus, the Rockets boast the second rated defense under coach Ime Udoka. The Bulls and Knicks finish out the week and both are playing their best basketball of the year right now.
It feels like the Pacers hit peak frustration after their last loss, with Tyrese Haliburton expressing his frustration and taking blame for not playing up to his standard. Now Hali and the rest of the roster needs to do something about that frustration on the court.
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
When: Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Bruce Brown, Buddy Hield, Obi Toppin, Myles Turner
Rockets: Fred Van Vleet, Jalen Green, Jabari Smith, Dillon Brooks, Alperen Sengun
Pacers: Bruce Brown (knee) - out
Rockets: Reggie Bullock Jr. (illness) - questionable, Tari Eason (sore leg) - questionable, Victor Oladipo (knee) - out
Indy Cornrows with Tom Lewis is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.