After a tough loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, the Pacers (1-4) hope to bounce back against a star-studded Brooklyn Nets (2-3) team on Friday at Barclays Center.
Although the Pacers own a 10-5 record against the Nets in Brooklyn, defeating the hosts will not be an easy task. Brooklyn will be looking to bounce back after not hitting the century mark in a loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday. James Harden shot just 33.3 percent from the field.
Additionally, Indiana will be without two more players due to injury. Malcolm Brogdon suffered a left hamstring injury in the third quarter and did not return, while rookie Isaiah Jackson appeared to hyperextend his knee after contesting for a rebound. With both unavailable, the Pacers will have to find a way to cover up the lost physicality in the frontcourt and their defensive length in the backcourt. T.J. McConnell, Chris Duarte, and Justin Holiday will have the tough task of keeping Harden, Joe Harris, and Kevin Durant in check. Durant currently ranks second in the NBA in scoring (29.8 points per game).
Through five games, both teams have struggled on the defensive side of the ball. Brooklyn currently ranks 19th in defensive rating (107.3 points per 100 possessions) while Indiana ranks 26th, surrendering an average of 112.5 points per 100 possessions. However, the teams differ on the offensive side of the ball. Surprisingly, despite the star talent, the Nets are currently averaging the league's third-worst offensive rating, tallying just 100.6 points per 100 possessions. Meanwhile, Indiana ranks eighth in the NBA, scoring an average of 108.6 points per 100 possessions.
Nonetheless, given the on-paper talent between the two teams, fans could expect a high-scoring affair, especially since both teams vastly underperformed in their previous games.
Pacers: PG - T.J. McConnell, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Blake Griffin
Nets: PG - James Harden, SG - Joe Harris, SF - Bruce Brown, PF - Kevin Durant, C - Precious Achiuwa
Pacers: Caris LeVert – questionable (sore back), Malcolm Brogdon - out (left hamstring strain), Isaiah Jackson - out (left knee injury), Kelan Martin - out (sore left hamstring), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
Nets: Nic Claxton – questionable (non-COVID illness), Kyrie Irving – out (personal reasons)
April 29, 2021: It was a night to forget for Blue & Gold fans during their rough 2020-21 campaign. Already undermanned, the Pacers saw three more players leave the game due to injuries. Indiana fell to the East-leading Nets, 130-113.
Caris LeVert did his best to give Indiana a shot. The guard tallied 36 points, four rebounds, and five assists against his former team. However, Kevin Durant could not be stopped in the second half. The star forward notched 32 of his 42 points in the third and fourth quarters.
Late in the fourth, the Pacers gave it one final prayer. Playing with a lineup that featured four bench players and Oshae Brissett, the squad rattled off a 13-2 run to close the deficit to 113-106 game with 7:08 to go. However, the Blue & Gold then cooled off, connecting on just two field goals for the rest of the way.
- The Nets have won the last four matchups in the series, including all three games last year.
- The Pacers hold a 108-77 record in the all-time regular-season series.
- The Brooklyn roster features seven players with 10 years of NBA experience or more.
The Pacers will tip off a three-game homestand on Saturday, Oct. 30, when they host Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors at Gainbridge Fieldhouse 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)