The Indiana Pacers face the short handed Brooklyn Nets to close season series
Indiana hopes to emerge victorious against a diminished Brooklyn team on the second night of a back to back.
The 14-12 Indiana Pacers will hope to cruise to victory against essentially half of the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night. While Indiana is on the second night of a back-to-back, the Nets won't have a single normal starter in their active lineup. This is an unusual injury report and it is unfortunate that the Pacers wont see the Nets’ best shot.
On the Indiana side of the injury report, Tyrese Haliburton, Kendall Brown, and Trevelin Queen are all questionable to play. Chris Duarte is out and Isaiah Jackson is questionable. Daniel Theis remains out.
Haliburton has been listed as questionable before with this injury and even missed time with it on the road trip. I don’t know if Indiana will err on the side of caution and keep him out with so many key players missing for Brooklyn. However, I know that he will play if capable and my bet would be on him doing just that.
Eight of the Brooklyn Nets will not play tonight against the Indiana Pacers with varying levels of injury. Most notably, their entire starting lineup will not play including Kevin Durant and Kylie Irving.
T.J. Warren will miss his Indiana reunion as he will also not play tonight. Warren has not played a game in Indiana since Dec. 29th of 2020 with Nate Bjorkgren as head coach. In four games this season, Warren is averaging 15.5 points a game while shooting 52.9% from the field. Not bad for missing multiple seasons of basketball.
Seth Curry, Joe Harris, Ben Simmons, Royce O’Neale, and Nic Clayton won't play. So, this looks to be a favorable matchup for an Indiana Pacers team that has already beaten the Nets twice this season.
It will be fun to watch Edmond Sumner make his return to the court in Indiana as he did not play in the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse a few weeks ago. He should be now one of the key contributors to the Nets against the Pacers. Hopefully, he gets the chance to shine in the familiar territory later this evening. He is averaging 7.2 points per game this season and has played in 22 games thus far.
Sumner spent four seasons with the Pacers after being drafted in the second round from Xavier University. He averaged 5.7 points per game and 1.1 assists in his Pacers career. If not for a freak injury to his Achilles, he may still be on the roster for Indiana facing against the Nets tonight.
What are the Pacers keys to victory?
With the talent gap being as substantial as it is, the Pacers can not beat themselves. Turnovers have to remain low and scoring early and often are factors to success in building momentum.
Indiana can not rely on Buddy Hield’s three point shooting and instead should target matchups where the talent gap is exposable. Myles Turner should be fed in the post against 21 year old Day’Ron Sharpe.
Markieff Morris will be a matchup issue for Indiana but that is less of a worry when Kevin Durant isnt on the other side of the floor. Patty Mills is also an exprienced veteran point guard who can punish poor defensive effort as well.
This should be an easy victory for the Pacers but they can not think the game is won before it is. Build a lead early. No turnovers. Let Haliburton and Turner cook.
The Pacers beat the Nets at home at the end of November. The final score was 128-117 with a healthy starting five for Brooklyn. Kevin Durant led the Nets with 36 points on 31 shot attempts. Both Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons played and each scored 20 points.
Edmon Sumner did not play and T.J. Warren was out as well.
For Indiana, Buddy Hield was their leading scorer with 26 points followed by Myles Turner with 23 points. Both played to their stregths and were a +21 and +26 respectively.
Tyrese Haliburton continued to do All-Star things, scoring 21 points and 15 assists. This helped the Pacers to have six players score 10 or more points in the contest — the others being Mathurin, Smith, and Nesmith.
Andrew Nembhard did not play due to injury nor did Chris Duarte. Indiana’s bench lacked in the scoring department outside of Mathurin who had 20 points.
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