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Game Preview: Pacers at Thunder

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After making a pit stop at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the Pacers (17-32) are hitting the road again to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (14-33) for the first time this season. The Thunder are one of three teams remaining on the Pacers schedule that have not played against Indiana this season.

For Indiana, the trip is a chance at redemption. On Wednesday, the Hornets torched the Pacers for a franchise-record 158 points in regulation. It was the most points allowed by the Pacers in franchise history.

The Thunder are certainly not the offensive powerhouse that the Hornets are and have struggled mightily this season. Oklahoma City has won just two games since Dec. 28 and will be carrying a six-game losing streak into this contest.

Boasting a young roster, Oklahoma City is in rebuilding mode. Only two players have more than four years of NBA experience. Three rookies were in the starting lineup for their most recent game — a one-point loss to the Chicago Bulls. However, there are a few scoring threats that Indiana must cover.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a respected scorer around the league. The three-year NBA guard is averaging 23 points and 5.5 assists per game. Most recently, he tallied 31 points and 10 dishes against the Bulls.

Luguentz Dort accompanies him frequently on the court. Notable for setting the Thunder's rookie record for points in a playoff game (30), Dort has transformed into a solid role player. He averages 16.1 points per game and attempts the most shots from beyond the arc on the team (7.4 per game).

Then, there is Josh Giddey — the rookie sensation from Australia. Giddey has provided a bright glimpse into the future during stretches of the season. He has started in all 42 of his appearances and has the potential to record more triple-doubles moving forward.

Projected Starters

Caris LeVert

Caris LeVert

Chris Duarte

Chris Duarte

Justin Holiday

Justin Holiday

Torrey Craig

Torrey Craig

Goga Bitadze

Goga Bitadze

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Josh Giddey

Josh Giddey

Aaron Wiggins

Aaron Wiggins

Luguentz Dort

Luguentz Dort

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

Pacers: PG - Caris LeVert, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Torrey Craig, C - Goga Bitadze
Thunder: PG - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, SG - Josh Giddey, SF - Aaron Wiggins, PF - Luguentz Dort, C - Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

Injury Report

Pacers: Domantas Sabonis - questionable (left ankle sprain), Malcolm Brogdon - out (sore right Achilles), T.J. McConnell - out (right wrist ligament surgery), Myles Turner - out (left foot stress reaction), T.J. Warren – out (left navicular fracture)

Thunder: Derrick Favors – out (sore lower back), Vit Krejci – out (right ankle sprain), Aleksej Pokusevski - out (G League assignment), Isaiah Roby - out (G League assignment)

Last Meeting

May 1, 2021: Ironically, the last time the Blue & Gold squared off against the Thunder, the squad set its franchise record for points in a game.

Despite missing six players, the Pacers steamrolled the Oklahoma City Thunder, 152-95, at Paycom Center. They sank a franchise-record 21 threes and led by as many as 67 points in the contest.

Returning from an injury, Domantas Sabonis tallied a triple-double in three quarters. He recorded 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting, 19 rebounds, and 14 assists in 30 minutes of action. He rested for the entire fourth quarter. Additionally, Doug McDermott added a game-high 31 points, including six triples. Caris LeVert notched 25.

Sabonis and the Pacers came sprinting out of the start. The big man assisted on the team's first four field goals. After, he converted a three-point play. The Blue & Gold led 14-4 less than three minutes into the game.

Everything seemed to fall for the Pacers from then on out. Indiana led 42-29 going into the second quarter and led by as many as 58 in the third. They cruised the rest of the way without a hitch. In contrast to Wednesday night, it was a night to remember.

Noteworthy

  • Indiana has won four straight games against the Thunder.
  • Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson both played collegiately at the University of Kentucky.
  • Oklahoma City's roster features seven players who were born outside the United States.

Tickets

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to tip off a three-game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, Jan. 31 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)