Pacers vs Nuggets

Game Preview: Pacers vs Nuggets

Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 8:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Game Time Change Notice

Please note that start time for Sunday's game has been changed from the original schedule and will now tip off at 8:00 PM ET.

Matchup

After T.J. McConnell's heroics helped Indiana snap a four-game losing streak, the Pacers (16-18) return return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to take on the Denver Nuggets (20-15) in their final game before the All-Star break.

McConnell had one of the best individual performances in franchise history in Wednesday's 114-111 win in Cleveland. He recorded the sixth triple-double with steals in NBA history, tallying 16 points on 8-of-8 shooting, 13 assists, and 10 steals. He set an NBA record with nine steals in the first half, then was a catalyst in the Blue & Gold's rally from a 19-point deficit in the second half to pick up a much-needed win in the final stop of a four-game road trip.

The Pacers led 108-106 with a little over a minute to play when McConnell tipped away Dylan Windler's pass, creating a fastbreak layup for Malcolm Brogdon that helped seal the win. On the play, McConnell also broke Dudley Bradley's 40-year-old record for steals in a game with his 10th steal, one short of the NBA record of 11 held by Larry Kenon and Kendall Gill.

Indiana had dropped 11 of its past 15 games entering Wednesday, but can enter the All-Star break with some positive momentum if it can handle its business on its homecourt against Denver on Thursday. The Nuggets enter the night in Thursday in seventh place in the competitive Western Conference and boast one of the league's top offenses, ranking fifth in offensive rating (116.5 points per 100 possessions) and fourth in field goal percentage (.486).

The Nuggets are led by All-Star center Nikola Jokic, who is firmly in the MVP conversation through the first half of the season. The 6-11 big man out of Serbia ranks eighth in the NBA in scoring (27.3 points per game), 10th in rebounds (11.0), and seventh in assists (8.6), the only player in the top 10 in all three categories.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Justin Holiday, SF - Doug McDermott, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
>Nuggets: PG - Jamal Murray, SG - Monte Morris, SF - Will Barton III, PF - Michael Porter Jr., C - Jarrett Allen

Injury Report

Pacers: Brian Bowen II - out (G League two-way contract), Jalen Lecque - out (G League assignment), Caris LeVert - out (medical condition), Cassius Stanley - out (G League two-way contract), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)

Nuggets: Facundo Campazzo - out (health and safety protocols), JaMychal Green - out (left shoulder sprain), R.J. Hampton - out (health and safety protocols), Gary Harris - out (left adductor strain), Markus Howard - out (health and safety protocols), Paul Millsap - out (left knee sprain)

Last Meeting

Jan. 19, 2020: Doug McDermott scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and Domantas Sabonis registered his first career triple-double to lead Indiana to a 115-107 win over the Nuggets in Denver, the Pacers' first victory in the Mile High City since Nov. 27, 2007.

McDermott finished with a team-high 24 points off the bench, going 9-for-10 from the field and 6-for-7 from 3-point range. Sabonis added 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists.

"The hoop felt big and my teammates did a good job of finding me," McDermott told FOX Sports Indiana's Jeremiah Johnson after the game. "Just good to see some go in."

Nikola Jokic led all scorers with 30 points but did not record a field goal in the fourth quarter. He also tallied 10 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Will Barton added 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists for Denver, while Jerami Grant finished with 16 points and five boards for Denver.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers are 4-2 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back and 2-0 at home.
  • The Nuggets and Pacers will meet again shortly after the All-Star break, as Indiana visits Denver in its third game after the break on March 15.
  • The all-time series between Indiana and Denver is tied 46-46, but the Pacers have a 30-17 advantage in games played in Indianapolis.

Tickets

A limited number of tickets for all upcoming Pacers home games through March 4 are now on sale. Tickets for games from March 17 - April 21 will go on sale on Monday, March 8. Single Game Tickets »   Health & Safety Guidelines »

Health Screening

Coming to the game? To ensure the screening process is quick and seamless, fans must complete the Ascension St. Vincent "Screen & Go" online health screening prior to arrival and show confirmation before entering the Fieldhouse. Those without smart phones must complete the same screening verbally prior to being allowed to enter. Adults accompanying young children will be asked to answer screening questions on the children's behalf. Complete Health Screening »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX 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 (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.





by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

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