Pacers at Thunder

Practice: Pacers Still Improving on Offense

December 3, 2019 - Despite it already being December, the Pacers' starting lineup is still learning each other's games due to the early-season injury bug. Domas Sabonis talked about building team chemistry at practice in OKC.

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Practice: Pacers Still Improving on Offense

December 3, 2019 - Despite it already being December, the Pacers' starting lineup is still learning each other's games due to the early-season injury bug. Domas Sabonis talked about building team chemistry at practice in OKC.
Dec 3, 2019  |  01:11

Game Preview: Pacers at Thunder

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET at Chesapeake Energy Arena
by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor





Matchup

After their bounce-back win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, the Pacers (11-7) continue their road trip as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (8-11) for the second time this season, and the first time at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Indiana is seeking its first win on the road against the Thunder since Nov. 20, 2016.

The Thunder are coming off an odd scheduling quirk that consisted of playing the New Orleans Pelicans twice in three days. They emerged from both games with a victory, and are looking for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Similar to the Pacers, the Thunder boast a primarily balanced scoring attack. Led by 12-year NBA veteran Danilo Gallinari (18.5 points per game) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (18.2 points per game), three starters are averaging 15 points or more for Oklahoma City. The third — 15-year NBA veteran Chris Paul — is averaging 15.7 points per game. The Thunder's primary man off the bench, Dennis Schroder is also above that line, recording 15.5 points per contest. However, it's their defense that has been iffy as of late.

After scoring at least 115 points in consecutive games, Indiana's offense should find more success against the Thunder's defense. Despite boasting the NBA’s 13th-best defensive rating (106.9 points per 100 possessions), Oklahoma City has given up 110 points or more in three of their last six games, including a season-high 136 points in regulation to the Portland Trail Blazers just six days ago. Currently, all five Pacers starters are averaging double figures, and one should continue to see those types of numbers against the Thunder on Wednesday night.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Jeremy Lamb, SF - T.J. Warren, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Thunder: PG - Chris Paul, SG - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, SF - Terrance Ferguson, PF - Danilo Gallinari, C - Steven Adams

Injury Report

Pacers: JaKarr Sampson - doubtful (sore back), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee surgery rehab), Edmond Sumner - out (right hand fracture)

Thunder: Hamidou Diallo - out (right elbow hyperextension sprain), Andre Roberson - out (left knee injury recovery)

Last Meeting

November 12, 2019: The Pacers routed the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-85 for their fourth straight win despite five players sitting out of the contest. T.J. Warren led Indiana with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Malcolm Brogdon recorded 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists, while Domantas Sabonis tallied 18 points and 16 rebounds in the victory.

"We're learning our identity on the defensive end," Brogdon said of the win. "Coming out of the gate, playing a strong 48 minutes, that's what the Pacers do and that's what we want to do this season."

Indiana took a 31-25 lead into the second quarter. Oklahoma managed to trim the lead to four, but never came close to the lead again. Indiana then rattled off nine unanswered points to widen the margin. Malcolm Brogdon's final six points of the second quarter pushed the lead to 10 at halftime. T.J. Warren's sharpshooting skills helped the Pacers start the third quarter on a 13-6 run, and the rout was on from there.

"I just wanted to come out with a sense of urgency out there," Warren said of his third-quarter performance. "I knew we had a good little lead and just wanted to put them away in the third quarter. Malcolm and the guards did a good job of getting guys in their spots and getting us organized offensively."

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers are 11-11 against the Thunder in the Oklahoma City era. Their 111-85 victory on Nov. 12 was the largest margin of victory seen in the series (26 points).
  • Indiana is 3-7 all-time on the road against in Oklahoma City.
  • Including two-way players, Oklahoma City is tied for the third-most international players among all NBA teams with six (Steven Adams, Luguentz Dort, Gallinari, Gilgeous-Alexander, Abdel Nader, and Schroder). Only Philadelphia (eight) and Dallas (seven) have more.

Tickets

After a five-game road trip, the Pacers will return home to host Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday, Dec. 9 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: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)

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