Game Preview: Pacers at Thunder
Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 8:00 PM ET at Chesapeake Energy Arena
The banged-up Pacers (29-33) head to Oklahoma City on Saturday to tip off a two-game road trip against the Thunder (21-42).
Indiana topped Oklahoma City on April 21 despite not having a true big man and they could be similarly shorthanded for the rematch on Saturday. Centers Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, and Goga Bitadze as well as guard Jeremy Lamb have yet to return to the lineup and three more players exited early in Thursday's loss to Brooklyn. Starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon left after the first quarter due to a sore hamstring, wing Edmond Sumner did the same after the third quarter with a sore knee, and big man JaKarr Sampson sustained a head injury in the fourth quarter after taking an inadvertent elbow from Blake Griffin.
Indiana finished Thursday's game with just nine healthy players, including Oshae Brissett and Amida Brimah, both of whom joined the team in the last month. Still, they battled til the end, trimming a 23-point deficit to seven with seven minutes to play before ultimately coming up short against the East-leading Nets.
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While the injuries continue to pile up, Caris LeVert rather remarkably remains on the floor. LeVert continues to look better and better as his conditioning improves after he missed six weeks earlier in the season following surgery to remove renal cell carcinoma from his left kidney. He scored a new Pacers career-high 36 points on Thursday and finished April averaging 22.1 points on 47.7 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.1 assists.
The Thunder are in full-on rebuild mode. Oklahoma City dropped 14 straight contests before picking up a win in Boston on Tuesday, but they lost again on Thursday to New Orleans. Their last home win came on March 31. But with the Pacers as banged up as they are, no win will come easy.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Caris LeVert, SF - Edmond Sumner, PF - Justin Holiday, C - Oshae Brissett
Thunder: PG - Theo Maledon, SG - Luguentz Dort, SF - Aleksej Pokusevski, PF - Darius Bazley, C - Moses Brown
Pacers: Goga Bitadze - questionable (left ankle sprain), Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore right hamstring), Jeremy Lamb - questionable (sore left knee), Domantas Sabonis - questionable (sore lower back), JaKarr Sampson - out (concussion), Myles Turner - out (partial plantar plate tear, right foot great toe), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)
Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - out (right foot plantar fasciitis), Mike Muscala - out (right ankle sprain)
April 21, 2021: Despite playing without a true big man, the Pacers found a way to handle the Thunder at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 122-116.
After signing a full contract with the Pacers earlier that day, 6-7 forward Oshae Brissett started at center and played 42 minutes. He set a new career high in virtually every statistical category, tallying 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 12 rebounds, three blocks, and two steals.
"I came in here with high hopes," Brissett told Bally Sports Indiana postgame. "I knew the work I put in was going to pay off. But to this extent, it's crazy."
Malcolm Brogdon led Indiana with 29 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists. Caris LeVert added 28 points, five rebounds, six assists, and four steals.
Darius Bazley had a team-high 26 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder but went just 9-for-25 from the field. Svi Mykhailiuk added 20 points, nine boards, and four assists.
- The Pacers have won three straight games against the Thunder
- With a win on Saturday, Indiana would sweep the season series with Oklahoma City for the second straight year.
- Pacers forward Oshae Brissett and Thunder guards Luguentz Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are all from Canada
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)