Pacers at Wizards

Game Preview: Pacers at Wizards

Friday, October 22, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Capital One Arena

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After a last-second 123-122 loss to the Charlotte Hornets in their season opener, the Pacers (0-1) look to rebound against the Washington Wizards (1-0) on the road Friday night at Capital One Arena.

Just as the Hornets did on Wednesday, the Blue & Gold will be facing the D.C. squad with a chip on their shoulders. Most recently, Washington routed the Pacers, 142-115 in last season's Play-In Tournament to earn the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference.

This year, the Wizards lineup looks different. Most notably, the squad is now without the elite talents of Russell Westbrook. The NBA's career triple-double record holder was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and the draft rights to now-Pacer Isaiah Jackson in August.

Nonetheless, one of the most dynamic guards in the league, Bradley Beal, still calls Washington home. Beal scored a game-high 23 points in their season-opening victory against the Toronto Raptors. Last year, Beal scored 50 against the Pacers on May 8 en route to sweep the regular-season series, 3-0. Malcolm Brogdon and Chris Duarte's defensive skills will need to be on full display to contain the nine-year veteran.

On offense, Indiana will likely rely once again on the talents of Brogdon, Duarte, and Domantas Sabonis to anchor the team's performance. Sabonis scored a game-high 33 points and 15 boards against the Hornets, while Brogdon added 28 and 11 assists. Duarte finished with 27 points in his NBA debut, the most ever by a Pacers rookie. The 13th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft impressed head coach Rick Carlisle late with his confidence to sink tough shots late in the fourth.

Fans should expect a fired-up Pacers squad for this matchup given the Wizards' recent dominating performances over the group. Not to mention blowing a 23-point lead in the second half in the Blue & Gold's 2021-22 season opener. Those two factors have Indiana primed for a classic revenge game against the new-look Wizards, hopefully.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Wizards: PG - Spencer Dinwiddie, SG - Bradley Beal, SF - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, PF - Kyle Kuzma, C - Daniel Gafford

Injury Report

Pacers: Caris LeVert – out (sore back), Kelan Martin - out (sore left hamstring), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)

Wizards: Thomas Bryant - out (left knee injury recovery), Rui Hachimura - out (not with team), Cassius Winston - out (left hamstring strain)

Last Meeting

May 20, 2021: Washington claimed the final spot in the 2020-21 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs with a dominating 142-115 victory over the Pacers at Capital One Arena. The hosts shot 58.1 percent from the field and used a 16-0 run during the second quarter to control the game for the rest of the way.

Bradley Beal scored a game-high 25 points to lead the way for Washington, while Russell Westbrook added 18 and 15 assists. Malcolm Brogdon had 24 to lead the way for Indiana, and Domantas Sabonis tallied a 19-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. In all, six Pacers finished in double figures to end the season. But it was not nearly enough for the Blue & Gold, whose defense struggled to stop drives to the paint.

The game was close after the first quarter, with Indiana trailing by a single point, 30-29. However, Indiana's shooting woes showed themselves early in the second. After Kelan Martin's three at the 10:22 mark, the Blue & Gold fell victim to a scoring drought of 3:50. By the time it was broken, Washington had taken a lead they would not surrender for the duration of the game. The Wizards started the fourth quarter with an alley-oop to Chandler Hutchison — a perfect symbol for how the game transpired for Indiana. The squad lost the points-in-the-paint battle, 72-40.

Noteworthy

  • Indiana holds a 101-82 record in the all-time regular season series.
  • Before losing three straight regular-season games to Washington in 2020-21, the Blue & Gold had won five of the previous six matchups over the previous two seasons.
  • The Wizards selected guard Corey Kispert with the 15th pick in the 2021 NBA draft. Like Domantas Sabonis, Kispert played his college basketball at Gonzaga University. He did not play in the team's season opener against Toronto.

Tickets

The Pacers host Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat for Opening Night presented by Gainbridge on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 PM ET. Secure your seats today and help fill Gainbridge Fieldhouse to cheer on your Pacers. 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)





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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