Pacers wrap up IST play against Pistons
The Pacers play their final Group A game on Black Friday at the Fieldhouse
The Pacers wrapped up the top spot in Group A of the NBA’s In-Season Tournament on Tuesday with their high-scoring win over Atlanta. But there remains work to be done in their final pool play game against the Pistons on Friday.
Home court for the one-and-done knock out round is still in play for the Pacers if they win and then get some help to improve their point differential standing with Boston and Milwaukee or Miami. The C’s have Orlando on Friday, so we know that there is potential for help.
The Pacers are also trying to bounce back from a frustrating 132-131 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. The dub was there for the taking for the blue and gold and instead the Raps closed out the fourth quarter and took it with them back across the border. Poor defensive communication killed the Pacers’ effort to get key stops down the stretch.
The defensive struggles also highlighted the absence of Aaron Nesmith and Andrew Nembhard at that end of the floor. Both remain questionable for the Pistons. Even more alarming is the addition of Tyrese Haliburton to the injury list as questionable.
The Pistons are loaded with young talent that includes an abundance o the dynamic length that has been giving the Pacers fits of late. Much of that talent remains raw as the Pistons have struggled to put together a productive combination under new coach Monty Williams. They are without key vets, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Harris and Monte Morris, as well.
After giving up 284 points and scoring 288 points in their last two games, the Pacers still have the most efficient offense in the NBA but now also have the least efficient defense. That alone makes their 8-6 record seem reasonable, even if at least two of those losses were really rough to take. Nothing will get better on the defensive end until Nembhard and Nesmith return which can help them move toward a below average defensive team as opposed to the worst.
The Pacers are currently 3-0 with a +16 points differential. They need to finish in the top two for home court. Boston is undefeated at 2-0, so they if the Pacers move to 4-0 the C’s would have to, as well. Boston already has a +17 point differential. The next best hope is that Miami can beat Milwaukee in their Group B finale. Both are 2-0 but Milwaukee already has a point differential of +36 while Miami is just +13 so far.
While home court would be nice, there certainly is no need to push Haliburton to play if he’s not ready, since in the end, this game against the Pistons is still one of the greater 82.
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
When: Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2023, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Bruce Brown, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Myles Turner
Pistons: Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton (wrist) - questionable, Andrew Nembhard (lower back) - questionable, Aaron Nesmith (wrist) - questionable
Pistons: Bojan Bogdanovic (calf) - out, Joe Harris (shoulder) - out, Monte Morris (quad strain) - out
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