Buddy Hield
(Matt Kryger)

Game Preview: Pacers vs Jazz

Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Game Preview

When the Indiana Pacers tip off against the Utah Jazz at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Wednesday night, the rims might still be warm. 

Indiana (4-3) enters its midweek matchup with Utah (2-6) after a 152-111 shellacking against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday. The 152 points matched the most points ever scored in a single NBA game by the Blue & Gold, with six Pacers finishing in double-digit scoring and 14 different players recording points in the game. 

The Pacers have been getting buckets in bunches all season.

As of Wednesday night, the Pacers were leading the NBA in points per game (124.9), field goals made per game (47.3) and assists per game (31.9). At home, the Pacers have put up dominant offensive numbers, averaging 129 points per game on 47.4 percent shooting and 32.2 assists. 

While seven total players are currently averaging double-digits in points for the Pacers, two centerpieces have continued to lead the way. 

Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton having another All-Star-level season, averaging 24 points on 49 percent shooting, 11.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds through five games played. Center Myles Turner has also played well as of late, posting double-digit points in all but one game this season and averaging 16.4 points and 8.9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks across 26.3 minutes.

In the win against the Spurs, the Pacers dropped 86 first-half points before leading 119-87 at the end of the third quarter. Despite resting the starters in the final frame, the Blue & Gold outscored the visitors 33-24 in the last 12 minutes. Overall, Indiana shot a season-best 57.9 percent overall, including 20-for-38 from 3-point.

On Wednesday, Utah will play its third game in a four-game road trip while the Pacers host game four of a five-game homestand. 

Utah enters the game on the other end of a blowout, as the Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls (3-5) 130-113 at United Center on Monday. The Jazz trailed by 14 points at half and 20 points going into the fourth quarter as they were dealt a third-straight loss.

The Jazz boast one of the tallest frontcourts in the NBA, with John Collins (6-foot-9), Lauri Markkanen (7-0), and Walker Kessler (7-1) all in the starting unit, and 6-11 veteran Kelly Olynyk on the bench. Talen Horton-Tucker, who was traded to the Jazz from the Los Angeles Lakers in August, and 2021 Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson make up the Jazz's starting backcourt.

This season, despite their record, the Jazz have found success in the paint and beyond the arc, ranking third in rebounding average (47.4 per game) and total 3-pointers made (94). Utah is second in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game, currently averaging 15.0, which could play a key factor, as the Pacers are just 21st in rebounding overall.

As a team, the Jazz are averaging 111.6 points per game.

While both teams can score in a hurry, they can also rapidly give points up.

The Jazz and Pacers have two of the worst defensive ratings in the league thus far, with the Pacers ranked 27th (117.2) and the Jazz 26th at 116.2 (26th). 

Markkanen, who was named an NBA All-Star for the first time and as the league’ s Most Improved player in 2023, leads this Jazz squad, averaging 23.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Markkanen isn’t just a threat from close range, as he’s currently third in the league in made 3-pointers.

Clarkson has stayed solid for the Jazz again this season, averaging 14.1 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds. Collins, a Utah native who was traded to the Jazz in July from Atlanta, is averaging 14.9 points on 49.4 percent shooting, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

Projected Starters

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

Jazz: G - Jordan Clarkson, G - Talen Horton-Tucker, F - Lauri Markkanen, F - John Collins, C - Walker Kessler

Injury Report

Pacers: None

Jazz: Keyonte George - probable (sore left foot), Walker Kessler - doubtful (left elbow sprain), Taylor Hendricks - out (G League assignment), Brice Sensabaugh - out (G League assignment)

Last Meeting

Feb. 13, 2023: The Utah Jazz held off a late rally by the Indiana Pacers in a 123-117 series-sweeping victory over the Blue & Gold in Salt Lake City.

Indiana trailed by 12 points with just over five minutes remaining, but the Pacers got it down to a two-point game with 1:13 remaining thanks to a pair of clutch jump shots by Tyrese Haliburton.

After Jordan Clarkson drained a pullup jumper with 54.2 seconds remaining to make it 117-113, the Jazz made six free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal it.

Lauri Markkanen posted 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Clarkson also finished with 29 points – 22 of which game in the second half – on six made 3-pointers. Veteran big Kelly Olynyk also posted a double-double for the Jazz, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds. 

The Pacers, missing starting center Myles Turner due to lower back soreness, were led by Haliburton’s 30 points and 12 assists and Aaron Nesmith’s 19 points and six rebounds. Then-rookie Bennedict Mathurin added 21 points off the bench. 

Both teams shot a hair over 50 percent, but the Jazz drained 15 threes to the Pacers’ 11 treys. Utah dominated the rebounding margin 46-32, including 35-24 on the defensive glass. 

After the Jazz, the Pacers will have little time to rest as they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday for a Central Division contest.

Noteworthy

  • The Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz are 48-48 all-time against each other.
  • Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield is three 3-pointers away from passing Carmelo Anthony (1,731) for the 27th most 3-pointers all-time.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner is two blocks away from passing Horace Grant (1,136) for 72nd on the all-time blocks list. Turner played in his 500th Pacers game on Monday.
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle earned his 900th win on Monday night, which is 14th-most in league history. Carlisle is currently at 245 wins as the head coach of the Pacers, trailing just Frank Vogel (250) and Slick Leonard (529) for the most in the franchise’s history. 
  • Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton and Jazz guard Jalen Horton-Tucker were collegiate teammates at Iowa State during the 2018-19 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), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)

Tickets

The Pacers host Lauri Markkanen and the Utah Jazz at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>