Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers (31-7) vs Clippers (28-13)
Scott Agness | January 16, 2014
Before jetting out west for their final five-game road trip of the season, the Pacers (31-7) wrap up a four-game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.
The Clippers (27-13), who are off to their second-best start in club history, are atop the Pacific Division and have the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. Although they’ve been successful at home, where they're 18-3, the Clippers are just 9-10 in road games. Changing the tide is imperative for them, as they’re now on their annual Grammy trip — an extended road trip (seven games) as the Grammys take over the Staples Center.
Led by Doc Rivers, who joined the team this season after nine seasons in Boston, the Clippers are on a four-game win streak and have won six of seven games in 2014. And they’ve done most of it without star point guard, Chris Paul, who’s out up to six weeks due to a shoulder injury. Paul leads the league in assists, dishing out more than 11 a game. He’s also second on the team in scoring (19.6 points per game).
The Clippers’ offense is one of the best in the league: third in points (averaging 106 per game), fourth in assists (24) and fifth in field goal percentage (46.5). And despite their intent on getting the ball out on the run, they only give the ball away 14 times on average.
In Paul’s absence, former Pacers guard Darren Collison has assumed greater responsibilities. He’s playing roughly 35 minutes per and has nailed 63 percent of his shots. Sharpshooter J.J. Redick, who they acquired in the offseason, missed their Dec. 1 meeting with Indiana, one of 21 games he missed because of a right hand fracture. Redick has picked up some slack and is averaging 26 points in two games this month while shooting better than 62 percent from the field.
Roy Hibbert and the Pacers’ big men must stay out of foul trouble and in the game to prevent easy scores at the rim from the likes of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. If they do foul, make sure it’s Jordan, who’s just a 40 percent free throw shooter. Keeping turnovers to a minimum is especially key because the Clippers will turn them into home runs on the fast break.
Indiana’s offense is playing its best of the season. They are selflessly passing the ball, scoring at a high clip, and not making careless mistakes. Pacers swingman Paul George was a little bit under the weather at their light practice on Friday but will be fine to play.
Clippers: Chris Paul (out, right shoulder separation)
“If you look at this team as anything short of the San Antonio’s, Oklahoma City’s and Portland’s, all you got to do is look at J.J. Redick has been out most of the season for them.” – Frank Vogel on the Clippers
“The biggest challenge is to mentally tell yourself that they’re not just as good without them, but their numbers are just as good — maybe even better. … This is going to be the biggest test our defense has seen in quite some time. We got to be ready for it.” – Frank Vogel on the Clippers being without Chris Paul
“Well when you’ve got a guy that’s a dominant player in this league and a guy that is the creator and the reason for a lot of their success with the ball in his hands, it’s going to cause a lot of guys to step up and play larger roles. And that can be scary because guys find out what they can do now. It’s going to be us having to guard those guys that much closer.” – Paul George on the absence of Chris Paul
“Darren Collison, we know first hand, is a great point guard...I’ve never felt like he was a backup point guard and giving him starter minutes is proving that they haven’t really skipped a beat.” – Frank Vogel
“Just his knowledge for the game. He’s a great point guard. His shot has gotten a lot better. I think he’s shooting 61 percent right now, so just respecting him on his transition game and him getting into cracks and getting others involved.” – George Hill on Collison, his former teammate
- The Pacers have won the last two meetings with the Clippers.
- On Thursday, the Clippers signed free agent forward Hedo Turkoglu.
Dec. 1: The Pacers opened their first of two five-game road trips this season with a 105-100 win over the Clippers at the Staples Center. Despite hitting just five shots in the final quarter, the Pacers sank 11 free throws to secure their 16th win in 17 games.
David West scored 14 of his season-high 24 points in the third period. Paul George had 27 points and Roy Hibbert dropped 19. The Clippers finished with six players in double-figures, led by Jamal Crawford’s 20 off the bench. Chris Paul scored 17 and assisted on 10 buckets. The Pacers collected seven of their 17 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and were +9 on the glass in the game.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana/NBA TV – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
Only a limited number of seats remain for this exciting matchup. Find Tickets »