How to Watch Pacers' Game With Jazz on Sunday; Gametime, TV, Point Spread
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - In order to avoid falling to .500 on the season, the Indiana Pacers will need to achieve a victory against the Utah Jazz, who currently hold the NBA's best record.
The Pacers are coming off back-to-back tough losses. Most recently, Indiana nearly rallied back from a double-figure deficit in the second-half but lost 114-113 to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Prior to their matchup with the Pelicans, the Pacers trailed by as many as 40-points in their 130-110 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Now, they will face a team who has fared better than all 29 other organizations early in the season. The Jazz enter this matchup having won three consecutive games and also 14 of their previous 15 contests.
Here are the particulars on Sunday afternoon's game:
- Who: Indiana Pacers (12-11) vs. Utah Jazz (18-5)
- When: 1 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Feb. 7.
- Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
- Latest Line: Most sportsbooks have the Jazz favored by 4-points entering this matchup (10 a.m. ET)
- Standings: The Pacers currently rank fifth in the Eastern Conference and trail the first-place Philadelphia 76ers by 4.5 games. Meanwhile, no team has a better record in the NBA than the Jazz.
- Series history: Indiana leads the all-time series, 46-44.
- Last meeting: On Jan. 20, 2020, the Jazz managed to win 118-88 against the Pacers. Indiana never led at any point of this contest. Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 25 points while Rudy Gobert chipped in 20 points and 14 rebounds.
- Projected Jazz starters: Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O'Neale, Rudy Gobert.
- Projected Pacers starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner.
- TV: FOX Sports Indiana.
- Announcers: 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)
Here are three things to watch in this game:
1. Perimeter Shooting
There isn't a better perimeter shooting team in the NBA than the Utah Jazz so far this season. On average, they are shooting 17.1-of-42.1 (40.7%) from beyond the arc, which ranks first in makes, second in attempts, and second in three-point percentage.
Facing a knockdown three-point shooting team could pose some real issues for the Pacers. No team has given up a higher opponent three-point percentage (39.7%) than Indiana to start the 2020-21 NBA season and that doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.
Indiana's inability to contain opposing team's perimeter shooting attacks seems to be a combination of multiple factors. The Pacers' on-ball defenders are ineffective at containing dribble penetration and dodging screens. Additionally, finishing against Myles Turner in favor of making a kickout isn't the better option.
The Pacers do not possess nearly the firepower from deep as the Jazz but are coming off a game where they set a franchise-record in makes with 20. Can Indiana keep up from beyond the arc?
2. Can the Pacers Contain Donovan Mitchell?
It has been yet another strong campaign from Donovan Mitchell and it's easy to see why when looking at his stats. In 21 appearances, he has averaged 23.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists.
With Mike Conley being ruled out for this matchup due to hamstring tightness, the Utah Jazz are expected to start Joe Ingles in his place. Mitchell will likely be leaned upon more to shoulder a heavier scoring responsibility without Conley active.
That could end up being somewhat of an advantage since Mitchell would spend less time in spot-up situations -- something he's been elite in doing. In fact, his incredible output of 1.583 points per possession (PPP) trails only Paul George among the 152 players with at least 50 possessions.
Outside of spot-up, there isn't an offensive play type where Mitchell ranks above average in so far this season. In fact, he's been the least efficient high-volume pick-and-roll scorer in the NBA and his output has been below average in transition and isolation situations.
Now, how the Pacers decide to defend Mitchell will be a key indicator. Indiana will surely get toasted from the perimeter if they're sending two defenders to the ball. The Pacers like to throw out different zone looks and he's only gone against 8 possessions of this kind. Could different looks throw him off?
3. Impact of Brogdon & Sabonis
Not having Caris LeVert and TJ Warren in the lineup requires the Pacers to rely heavily on Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis to thrive when facing top teams. Indiana has rarely received a strong outing from both players in the same game in those situations.
It has been a tough start to the month for Brogdon, in general. In his three performances, he is averaging just 16.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 41.7% from the field and 33.3% from three-point range. To close January, he surpassed
Sabonis began the month with two genuinely impressive outings. He tied his previous career-high in scoring (32) against the Memphis Grizzlies and went 13-of-15 (86.7%) from the field while adding 13 rebounds and five assists. He followed that up with a new career-high in points (33) against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Neither Sabonis nor Brogdon was in a rhythm during Friday's 114-113 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Sabonis recorded only eight points on 3-of-13 (23.1%) shooting from the field while Brogdon was limited to 13 points on 6-of-15 (40.0%). Neither player was put back into the game during the entire fourth quarter.
A matchup like the Jazz will not be easy for either Brogdon or Sabonis. The length of Rudy Gobert could pose some real problems for both players near the basket. If Brogdon isn't converting on pull-ups, it could be a truly challenging set of circumstances.