Pacers at Jazz

Game Preview: Pacers at Jazz

Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 9:00 PM ET at Vivint Arena

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After a close loss on Wednesday night in Denver, the Pacers (4-8) close out their four-game Western Conference road trip with another difficult task, as they take on the Utah Jazz (8-3) on the second night of a back-to-back.

Each of the Pacers' first three games on the trip has come down to the final minute, but the Blue & Gold have only managed to come away with one win over those three contests. On Wednesday, Indiana had several chances down the stretch to tie or take the lead, but couldn't make the one extra play needed to even the game, whether that was losing a jump ball after a foul call that would have sent Domantas Sabonis to the free throw line in the final minute was overturned, or giving up an uncontested dunk to Jeff Green off an inbounds when trailing by two with 12 seconds remaining.

One positive on the trip has been the play of point guard T.J. McConnell. The 6-foot guard scored in double figures just once over the first nine games of the season, but has done it over each of the last three games, averaging 17.7 points on the trip. He started the first two games as Malcolm Brogdon was sidelined with strep throat, then moved back to the bench on Wednesday, but still made a major impact, tallying 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting and nine assists in 29 minutes.

The Jazz had the best regular-season record in the NBA last season and are off to another strong start. Utah is tied for the second-best record in the league entering Thursday, trailing only 10-1 Golden State. Utah is second in the league in offensive rating, scoring 113.8 points per 100 possessions, while only giving up 104.2 (the eighth-best defensive rating) on the other end.

Utah is led by the All-Star duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Mitchell ranks eighth in the league in scoring at 25.9 points per game and hoists over 10 3-pointers a night, but also leads the Jazz in assists (5.3 per contest). Gobert, who has been named the league's Defensive Player of the Year in three of the past four seasons, leads the NBA in rebounding at 15.9 per game and also averages 14.6 points and 1.9 blocks.

The Jazz have other strong offensive weapons in addition to Mitchell and Gobert, including former Pacer Bojan Bogdanovic (17 points per game), Indianapolis native Mike Conley (15.7 points and 4.9 assists), and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson (14.5 points off the bench).

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - T.J. McConnell, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Jazz: PG - Mike Conley, SG - Donovan Mitchell, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Royce O'Neale, C - Rudy Gobert

Injury Report

Pacers: Caris LeVert - TBD (sore lower back), Isaiah Jackson - out (left knee injury), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)

Jazz: Elijah Hughes - questionable (non-COVID illness), Rudy Gay - out (right heel injury recovery)

Last Meeting

April 16, 2021: The Pacers led much of the night in their last visit to Utah, but ultimately fell to the Jazz, 119-111. Indiana led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but Utah rallied to tie the game entering the fourth quarter and surged ahead for good with a 10-0 run in the final frame.

"We have to give them credit," Caris LeVert said. "They played great defense in the second half. We have to move the ball better on the offensive end in the second half as well. I think in the first half we were playing more free, we were getting more stops, getting out in transition, getting easy baskets."

LeVert led Indiana with 24 points, seven rebounds, and two steals in the loss. Domantas Sabonis added 22 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists.

Malcolm Brogdon finished with 16 points, six rebounds, and four assists in the loss. Goga Bitadze added 13 points and four rebounds while going 3-for-4 from 3-point range, while Jeremy Lamb added 12 points, five boards, and two steals.

Donovan Mitchell had 22 points in just 21 minutes for Utah before exiting the game with a sprained ankle. Bojan Bogdanovic had a team-high 24 points against his former team and Clarkson chipped in 18 off the bench.

Noteworthy

  • The Jazz swept the regular season series with Indiana last season for the first time since 2015-16.
  • Utah visits Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Jan. 8.
  • With six blocks on Wednesday, Pacers center Myles Turner now has 904 for his career. With one more block, he will pass Dale Davis for sole possession of fifth place on the franchise list for career blocked shots.

Tickets

After a four-game Western Conference road trip, the Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)





by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

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