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Game Preview: Pacers vs Wizards

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

Taking the court for the final time before the All-Star break, the Pacers (19-40) will host the Washington Wizards (26-30) on Wednesday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The combination of injuries and moves at the trade deadline have left Indiana in a unique position. The Pacers had just 10 active players for Tuesday's game at Milwaukee, and just two of them (Oshae Brissett and Goga Bitadze) were on Indiana's roster prior to Dec. 15.

But despite playing with so many new faces, the Pacers competed admirably against the defending champs. Buddy Hield had a standout performance in his third game with the Blue & Gold, scoring 36 points and going 8-for-12 from 3-point range, while fellow newcomer Tyrese Haliburton added 17 points, eight assists, and four steals. They ultimately lost, 128-119, largely because of a monster performance by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but there was plenty to be encouraged about on the night.

After dropping seven straight games, the Pacers would love to go into the break on a positive note with a victory over Washington.

The Wizards have won two of their last three games after dropping seven of their previous eight. Washington recently announced that star guard Bradley Beal would undergo season-ending wrist surgery and traded away its third and fourth-leading scorers (Montrezl Harrell and Spencer Dinwiddie) at the trade deadline.

Washington still has Kyle Kuzma (16.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game), who figures to take on a larger offensive role for the remainder of the season. The Wizards will also use the next two months to evaluate recent first-round picks like Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert by giving them increased minutes.

Projected Starters

Tyrese Haliburton

Tyrese Haliburton

Buddy Hield

Buddy Hield

Oshae Brissett

Oshae Brissett

Jalen Smith

Jalen Smith

Goga Bitadze

Goga Bitadze

Raul Neto

Raul Neto

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Corey Kispert

Corey Kispert

Kyle Kuzma

Kyle Kuzma

Thomas Bryant

Thomas Bryant

Pacers: PG - Tyrese Haliburton, SG - Buddy Hield, SF - Oshae Brissett, PF - Jalen Smith, C - Goga Bitadze
Wizards: PG - Raul Neto, SG - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF - Corey Kispert, PF - Kyle Kuzma, C - Thomas Bryant

Injury Report

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon - out (sore right Achilles), Chris Duarte - out (sore left big toe), Isaiah Jackson - out (right ankle sprain), T.J. McConnell - out (right wrist ligament surgery), Ricky Rubio - out (torn left ACL), Myles Turner - out (left foot stress reaction), T.J. Warren – out (left navicular fracture)

Wizards: Rui Hachimura - questionable (right ankle sprain), Bradley Beal - out (left wrist surgery), Daniel Gafford - out (return to competition reconditioning), Kristaps Porzingis - out (right knee bone bruise)

Last Meeting

Dec. 6, 2021: The Pacers jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and maintained it for the majority of the night in a 116-110 win over Washington at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Domantas Sabonis tallied 30 points, going 11-for-15 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line, to go along with 10 rebounds, six assists, and three steals to key an Indiana victory.

Sabonis had plenty of help from his supporting cast, as six Pacers scored in double figures. Caris LeVert tallied 19 points and three blocks, while Malcolm Brogdon chipped in 17 points, six rebounds, and eight assists.

"From the jump, we started out aggressive," Sabonis said after the win. "Like we talked about in practice, we wanted to come out with that high energy and I feel like we stuck to that throughout the game."

Bradley Beal had a game-high 34 points for the visitors, going 12-for-19 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Daniel Gafford added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Kyle Kuzma also scored 14.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers and Wizards have split two games so far this season with each team winning on its home court. They meet once more in Washington on March 6.
  • Indiana is 5-4 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
  • Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton will be participating in the Rising Stars event on Friday night at All-Star Weekend in Cleveland. Rookie guard Chris Duarte was also selected for the event, but may not participate due to injury.

Tickets

The Pacers host the Washington Wizards at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in their final game before the All-Star break on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)