Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Jazz
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Pacers look to stay hot against Hayward, new-look Jazz
SCOUTING THE PACERS: With no Jerry Sloan on the bench and no Deron Williams at the point, the Pacers might not know what to expect from the Jazz tonight. Indiana has won its first two games after the All-Star break and is 9-3 under interim coach Frank Vogel. With weekend home games against the Jazz and Suns (Sunday), they need to protect their home floor -- where they've won six of seven -- before heading into a brutal March schedule that brings 18 games, 11 on the road with three three-game trips. Utah's strength is its frontcourt scoring and the Pacers' young trio of Roy Hibbert, Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough will be challenged to contend with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and the newly acquired Derrick Favors. The Pacers have dropped five of the last six matchups, their only win in that span coming March 26, 2010, by a 122-106 score behind Danny Granger's career-high 44 points.
SCOUTING THE JAZZ: With Devin Harris and Favors expected to make their Jazz debuts, Utah hopes to snap a five-game losing streak. After shipping Williams to New Jersey in exchange for Harris, Favors, two first-round draft picks and cash Wednesday, Utah (31-27) lost 118-99 at Dallas that night. The Jazz's fifth consecutive defeat dropped them 0-4 under interim coach Tyrone Corbin. Williams averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 assists with Utah this season. Having Harris, averaging 15.0 points and a career-best 7.6 assists, and Favors on the floor could help Utah do so. The new players will look to mesh with big men Jefferson, who had 30 points and eight rebounds Wednesday, and Millsap, who had 18 points and nine boards. The Jazz, losers of 14 of 18, are averaging 93.8 points - 5.6 fewer than their season mark - during their five-game skid. Utah, which has lost eight of 10 on the road, is a half-game out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Utah also features Brownsburg, Ind., native and Butler University standout Gordon Hayward, who is averaging 12.9 minutes, 3.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 50 appearances including 12 starts.
QUOTE MARKS: "I kept myself in shape and tried to do things with the team in practice and stuff like that and to learn while I was sitting out. It definitely helped out a lot and I'm definitely thrilled to be back in the rotation." -- Brandon Rush, who has returned to the Indiana starting lineup with Mike Dunleavy out with a broken left thumb.
INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Mike Dunleavy (broken left thumb) is out. For the Jazz, Ronnie Price (sprained right big toe) is day-to-day and Mehmet Okur (strained lower back) is out.
TICKETS: Buy Now | Collectible Friday
BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 6:30. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee reporting.
INTERACT: You can chat with other fans around the country in our live game chat, which begins at tipoff.