Pacers vs Pelicans

Practice: Pacers Prepping for Pelicans

February 21, 2019 - In their final practice before the season resumes, the Pacers talked about preparing to face Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Pregame 190222

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Practice: Pacers Prepping for Pelicans

February 21, 2019 - In their final practice before the season resumes, the Pacers talked about preparing to face Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and the New Orleans Pelicans.
Feb 21, 2019  |  01:23

Blue-and-Gold Breakdown: Mark Montieth on the Pacers at the All-Star Break

February 21, 2019 - On this edition of the Blue and Gold Breakdown, Pacers.com writer Mark Montieth joins the show to discuss the state of the Pacers at the All-Star Break, and what Indiana needs to do keep control of the 3 seed.
Feb 21, 2019  |  10:28

Practice: Pacers Prepared for Stretch Run

February 20, 2019 - After their first practice since returning from All-Star break, the Pacers talked about their focus as they approach the final 24 games of the regular season.
Feb 20, 2019  |  01:36

Game Preview: Pacers vs Pelicans

Friday, February 22, 2019 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Last Updated: Feb. 22 at 6:15 PM ET

Matchup

After a week off to get away and recharge, the Pacers (38-20) return to action on Friday night, when they welcome the New Orleans Pelicans (26-33) to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The All-Star break was a low-key affair for the Blue & Gold. Indiana was the only NBA team that did not have a player participating in an event at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte (Victor Oladipo was chosen as an All-Star reserve but was unable to participate due to season-ending surgery), so the majority of the team was able to get away and spend a few days relaxing in warmer locales.

They returned to Indianapolis on Wednesday for two days of practice before the stretch run of the season begins. The Pacers entered the break in third place in the Eastern Conference — a game ahead of both Boston and Philadelphia — and appear all but a lock for a top-five seed in the playoffs. Still, Indiana has higher goals, including securing homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, which only goes to the top four seeds in the conference.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »

The Pacers' schedule picks up in the coming weeks, so a strong start coming out of the break is all but imperative. Indiana's next seven games come against teams that currently have a losing record, although the first six opponents are at least on the fringes of the playoff race.

Beginning March 7, however, 10 of the Pacers' next 11 games are against winning teams. Eight of those 10 games are on the road and nine of them are against teams currently in the top five of their respective conference standings.

No team is a bigger wild card entering the second half of the NBA season than the Pelicans. All-Star forward Anthony Davis made a public demand for a trade, but New Orleans elected to keep the 6-11 forward (who is under contract until the summer of 2020) at the deadline.

The Pelicans then stunned the world when they opted to continue playing Davis the rest of the season, only to see him sustain a shoulder injury in their win over Oklahoma City just before the break. But Davis was healthy enough to play five minutes in the All-Star Game and reportedly plans to play against the Pacers.

While his mere presence is a distraction at this point, there is no question the value he can still add on the court. Coming out of the All-Star break, Davis is fourth in the NBA in both scoring (28.1 points per game) and rebounding (12.9 per contest) and second to Pacers center Myles Turner in blocks (2.5 per game).

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Wesley Matthews, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Kyle O'Quinn
Pelicans: PG - Jrue Holiday, SG - E'Twaun Moore, SF - Kenrich Williams, PF - Anthony Davis, C - Jahlil Okafor

Injury Report

Pacers: Tyreke Evans - questionable (sore left ankle), Myles Turner - out (bruised left hip), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee surgery)

Pelicans: Trevon Bluiett - out (right thumb surgery), Darius Miller - doubtful (right ankle sprain)

Coors Cold Hard Fact

The Indiana Pacers were the first team to play the newly minted New Orleans Pelicans in the 2013-14 season, winning by a score of 95-90 on Oct. 30, 2013. The Pacers later won the second matchup of the season as well, 99-82.

Last Meeting

February 4, 2019: Darren Collison came through in the clutch on Monday night, scoring 11 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and hitting some big shots down the stretch to lift the Pacers to a 109-107 victory in New Orleans.

Collison went 9-for-14 from the field and 3-for-6 from 3-point range in the victory, while also tallying six assists and four rebounds.

"He's having to carry a little bit more load since the absence of Victor (Oladipo)," McMillan said. "He is capable of doing that. He made some big shots tonight and he is the guy we’ve gone to as far as late in games, putting the ball in his hands."

Domantas Sabonis finished with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 13 rebounds off the bench, while Myles Turner added 15 points, nine boards, two steals, and three blocks. Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 14 points apiece.

Jahlil Okafor led the Pelicans with a game-high 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting and also pulled down 13 boards. Jrue Holiday nearly recorded a triple-double in the loss, finishing with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists.

Noteworthy

  • With a win on Friday, the Pacers would sweep the season series with the Pelicans for the sixth time in the last eight years.
  • Indiana is 7-3 on the year when playing on the first night of a back-to-back, including a 2-1 record at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
  • Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday is the older brother of Pacers rookie guard Aaron Holiday.

Tickets

The Pacers return from the All-Star break to host Jrue Holiday and the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5 FM/1070 AM 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.