How to Watch Pacers' Game With Pistons on Thursday; Gametime, TV, Point Spread

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indiana Pacers enter Thursday's matchup with the Detroit Pistons on a four-game losing streak. Now, only the Cleveland Cavaliers have a longer active recent skid. 

The Pacers are coming off a deflating 104-94 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. While that final score may not sound too substantial, Indiana trailed by as many as 36 points at one point. Getting back on track will be crucial before a hole gets dug. 

It has been a struggle for the Pistons, too, as of late. Their 122-111 win over the Nets in their previous outing caused their four-game losing streak to come to an end. 

Here are the particulars on Thursday night's game:

  • Who: Indiana Pacers (12-13) vs. Brooklyn Nets (6-18)
  • When: 8 p.m. ET, Thursday, Feb. 11.
  • Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan.
  • Latest Line: According to most oddsmakers, the Pacers are considered as being 2.5-point favorites over the Pistons as of 4 p.m. ET. 
  • Standings: No team has a worse record in the Eastern Conference than the Detroit Pistons. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers have fallen to No. 6 in the conference standings and are just a half game ahead of the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks. 
  • Series history: Indiana Pacers lead the all-time series, 101-97.
  • Last meeting: It hasn't been since Dec. 6, 2019, that these two teams have faced off with each other. In the previous meeting, the Pistons used a 7-0 run in the final minute of regulation to win 108-101. 
  • Projected Pistons starters: Delon Wright, Wayne Ellington, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Mason Plumlee.
  • 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: 

3. Myles Turner's Involvement

Against top teams, the Pacers experience real problems when it comes to operating a cohesive half-court offense. The primary casualty of this is Myles Turner since his role with the Pacers is almost purely that of a play finisher. 

Over the last five games, Turner is averaging only 7.4 field goal attempts per game with 4.2 of those coming from three-point range. With fewer minutes on the court without Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis, he's simply becoming an afterthought again. 

The usage rates for both Brogdon and Sabonis have continued to rise as their execution has diminished. Meanwhile, Turner's involvement has declined substantially despite having such a strong month of January. Will the Pacers look to feature Turner more against a weak Pistons team?

2. Will Offensive Results Improve? 

In each of the Pacers' previous two games, they have set a new season-low in scoring. Indiana is producing just a 103.8 offensive rating during their four-game losing streak. During that stretch, only the San Antonio Spurs (103.7) and Washington Wizards (100.7) have been worse. 

There have been numerous catalysts for the Pacers' recent offensive shortcomings. Players like Justin Holiday and Doug McDermott have thrived as of late, but Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and Aaron Holiday have each diminished. 

A lack of dynamic shot creation and playmaking has been a problem for the Pacers all season but has worsened as of late. It's very difficult to succeed without it against top teams and that has only been exposed for Indiana lately. 

1. Jerami Grant's Breakout Campaign

After playing in primarily a complementary role in his previous spots, the Detroit Pistons have fully embraced Jerami Grant. He is on the fast track to earn the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year Award based on his early play. 

In 24 performances, Grant is posting averages of 24.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. He has managed to more than double his averages in points and assists and is shooting 39.5% from the perimeter on 6.5 attempts per game.  

While he is flourishing as an isolation scorer, ,uch of the way Grant makes his scoring impact has been off the catch -- starting in spot-up situations. The Pistons have made it a real effort to give him the ball off the move in handoffs, using off-ball screens, as a roll man, and as a cutter.