Buddy Hield
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Game Preview: Pacers at Hawks (In-Season Tournament)

Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 PM ET at State Farm Arena

Indiana Pacers Media Availability | November 20, 2023

Game Preview

The Indiana Pacers made history last month by winning the NBA’s first-ever In-Season Tournament (IST) game. Next time out, the Blue & Gold can become the first team from the Eastern Conference to advance to the Knockout Rounds. 

Indiana (7-5, 2-0 IST) will face the Atlanta Hawks (6-6, 1-1 IST) on Tuesday at State Farm Arena in East Group A play. If the Pacers take down the Hawks, Indiana will move to the quarterfinals of the Knockout Rounds that will be played in NBA team markets Dec. 4-5. 

Currently, the Pacers are the only undefeated team in their group with wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers (1-1 IST) and Philadelphia 76ers (2-1 IST) – two teams that will play each other on Tuesday. Indiana will then play the Toronto Raptors in a regular season game on Wednesday before concluding IST group play on Friday against the Detroit Pistons (0-3 IST).

Tuesday will mark the first of four games between the Pacers and Hawks this season.

Over the last two seasons, the Hawks have dominated their series with the Pacers, winning six of the previous seven games. Last season, the Hawks went 2-1 against the Blue & Gold.

Fans tuning in on Tuesday can expect a fast-paced game with lots of points. 

The Pacers are the highest-scoring team in the NBA at 125.7 points per game, while playing at the fastest pace in the league, while the Hawks are fourth in points per game (119.9) and third in pace. Atlanta has been doing damage from the free throw line, averaging 22.3 points per game from the stripe, and has also ranked in the top five in steals per game (8.9) for most of the season.

Like the Pacers, the Hawks have relied on their depth to light up the scoreboard, with seven players averaging double-digit points. Indiana has eight players averaging 11 or more points per game.

Guards Dejounte Murray and Trae Young have continued to lead the way for the Hawks this season, combining for just under 45 points per game. Young is also second to just Pacers All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton in individual assists this season, averaging 11.1 per game to Haliburton's 11.6 per contest. 

Forwards Jalen Johnson (15.0 points, 7.9 rebounds) and De’Andre Hunter (12.8 points, 3.7 rebounds) and center Clint Capela (10.2 points, 9.8 rebounds) round out the Hawks starting five.

The Pacers will need to shake off a 128-116 Sunday night loss to the Orlando Magic when they travel to Atlanta. Against the Magic, the Pacers trailed by 21 points after 12 minutes and 78-44 at the half.

In the loss, the Pacers scored season lows for points in the first half while also giving up the most points to an opponent in a first half yet this season. Overall, the team made just eight 3-pointers and shot 42-of-95 (44.2 percent) while committing a season-high 32 fouls.

Jordan Nwora saw an uptick in minutes against the Magic, posting a season-high 19 points and five rebounds. Six Pacers players scored in double figures in the contest.

Atlanta will enter the matchup well-rested, not having played since a 126-116 IST loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. The Hawks have lost two straight games and three of their last four.

Projected Starters

Pacers: G - Tyrese Haliburton, G - Bruce Brown, F - Bennedict Mathurin, F - Obi Toppin, C - Myles Turner

Hawks: G - Dejounte Murray, G - Trae Young, F - De’Andre Hunter, F - Jalen Johnson, C - Clint Capela

Injury Report

Pacers: Andrew Nembhard - questionable (sore lower back)

Hawks: Kobe Bufkin - out (left thumb fracture), A.J. Griffin - out (illness), Mouhamed Gueye - out (right lower back stress fracture)

Last Meeting

March 25, 2023: The Atlanta Hawks outscored the Indiana Pacers 41-22 after All-Star point guard Trae Young was ejected in the third quarter in a 143-130 victory in the Peach State.

Pacers forward Jordan Nwora set a new franchise record for points in a second quarter by dropping 25 before finishing with a team-high 33 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the field. Eight Pacers finished in double-digit scoring, including 19 points and 13 assists from point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

The game was tied at 84 with 7:25 remaining when Young was ejected.

Overall, the Pacers shot 54.2 percent and the Hawks made 55.2 percent of their shots. Atlanta did its damage from the free throw line, sinking 22 of 25 attempts, while the Pacers made all 12 of their shots from the charity stripe.  

Atlanta also beat Indiana 42-32 (15-10 offensive) in rebounding and turned the ball over 11 times to the Pacers' 17 giveaways.

Indiana was on the second leg of a back-to-back after playing in Boston the evening prior.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers defeated the Hawks 116-112 in a preseason game on Oct. 16. 
  • Pacers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce was the head coach of the Hawks from 2018-2021. Hawks assistant coach Ronald Nored, a Butler University alum, was an assistant in Indiana from 2021-2023.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner has 505 career made 3-pointers with the Pacers and is one short of tying Biller Keller for the fifth most in the franchise’s history.
  • Former Pacers guard Wesley Matthews currently comes off the bench for the Hawks and has played in three games this season.

Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)

Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)

Tickets

The Pacers will host Pascal Siakim and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, Nov. 22 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 7:30 PM ET. Tickets >>