How to Watch Pacers' Game With Pelicans on Friday; Gametime, TV, Point Spread

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers will look to quickly forget about their blowout 130-110 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The best way to do so would be to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans in their next matchup. 

At least for the Pelicans, they are coming off a 123-101 victory over the Phoenix Suns. It was an impressive win against a playoff contender that featured Zion Williamson scoring 28 points on 12-of-14 (85.7%) shooting from the field. 

 This matchup will mark the second time these two teams will play against each other this season. In their previous meeting, the Pacers rallied back late to win 118-116 in overtime with Victor Oladipo leading an impressive comeback effort. 

Neither the Pacers nor Pelicans have been thriving as of late. Both teams have won just four of their previous 10 games and have struggled to contain opposing team's offensive attacks. This will be an opportunity for one side potentially begin a turnaround. 

Here are the particulars for Friday night's game:

  • Who: Indiana Pacers (12-10) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (8-12)
  • When: 7 p.m. ET, Friday, Feb. 5.
  • Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Latest Line: According to WilliamHill Sportsbook, the Pacers are considered a 2.5-point favorite over the Pelicans, as of 11 a.m. ET.
  • Standings: The Pacers currently rank fifth in the Eastern Conference standings and trail the No. 1 spot by 3.5 games. The Pelicans rank 13th in the Western Conference, ahead of only the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves. 
  • Series history: Indiana leads the all-time series, 25-16.
  • Last meeting: Earlier in the season on Jan. 4, 2021, the Pacers defeated the Pelicans with 118-116 being the final score. Indiana trailed 106-100 with about 30 seconds left in regulation but overcame that and managed to force overtime. 
  • Projected Pelicans starters: Eric Bledsoe, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Steven Adams.
  • Projected Pacers starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner.
  • TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
  • ESPN - Mike Breen (play-by-play), Jeff Van Gundy (analyst), Ariel Helwani (sideline reporter)
  • Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)

Here are three things to watch in this matchup:

1. Containing Zion Williamson

It has been a strong season for Zion Williamson and he is showing why he was the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He's averaging an 23.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while going an impressive 59.4% from the field. He's even starting to take some three's and has made one in each of his last three games. 

The Pacers had some issues with a forceful and explosive four in their previous matchup -- Giannis Antetokounmpo. Indiana struggles with these types of matchups since Domantas Sabonis isn't a factor on the ball against them, or as a help defender. It also forces Myles Turner away from being a rim protector. 

There is quite a contrast in style between Antetokounmpo and Williamson, too. Antetokounmpo attacks from out in space more often and can create quality looks for teammates in addition to his scoring presence in the paint. Williamson is more of a play finisher that is developing his ability to facilitate.

A critical different between the Bucks is they have a stretch-five in Brook Lopez who can shoot from the parking lot. Meanwhile, the Pelicans have Steven Adams and just about never does anything in the scoring department outside of the paint. 

2. Rebounding Battle

One of the main strengths of this Pelicans team is their ability to clean up misses on the offensive glass and create additional scoring opportunities. On the season, New Orleans has a 30.0% offensive rebounding percentage (T-3rd) and averages an NBA-most 15.3 second-chance points per game.

The Pelicans finished the previous meeting between these two teams with a staggering 16 offensive rebounds. In fact, Zion Williamson and Steven Adams each finished with four and were just one shy of individually matching the Pacers' total. 

There was a highly lopsided advantage in second-chance scoring that went in the Pelicans' favor due the offensive rebounding disparity. New Orleans scored 22 points in this area compared to just five from the Pacers. Will Indiana manage to negate this on Friday?

One key way the Pacers negated this disadvantage with hot perimeter shooting while the Pelicans struggled to convert. For reference, Indiana went 19-of-45 (42.2%) from deep while the Pelicans were 9-of-27 (33.3%) on their attempts 

3. Any Answer For Brandon Ingram?

Much of the attention is placed on Zion Williamson when focusing on this Pelicans team. However, Brandon Ingram is also an impactful threat that needs to be accounted for in the grand scheme of things. Both players make up an intriguing one-two punch that will be tough to stop for many years. 

On the season, Ingram is contributing averages of 23.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. His production is nearly identical to what it was last season when he was named the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year. 

Ingram struggled with his efficiency against the Pacers in their initial matchup, but still finished with a game-high 31 points while contributing eight assists. He's a load to handle when he gets downhill and operates in mid-range, but he's become a more-than-capable pull-up shooter from deep, too. 

Indiana went with a small perimeter with Aaron Holiday, Malcolm Brogdon, and Victor Oladipo but has obviously mixed it up since then. With an actual wing at the three spot like Justin Holiday, the Pacers will be better equipped to guard Ingram. Slowing him down will be a challenge, nevertheless.