PreGame Chatter: Pacers vs. Mavericks

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers (8-5) will take on the Dallas Mavericks (6-7) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.

Finishing off a Western Conference road trip, the Pacers took on the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. With Myles Turner sidelined, the task of slowing down Paul George and Kawhi Leonard proved to be too much. The Clippers came out on top with 129-83 being the final score. 

The Mavericks experienced a blowout loss at the hands of the Toronto Raptors as the final scoreboard read 116-93. Luka Doncic was limited to just 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting (36.4%) and 0-of-3 from three. Slowing him down in what will be a bounce-back effort is one of the things to watch. 

Here is what Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had to say prior to the matchup between the two teams. 

Slowing Down Luka Doncic

The main threat to the Pacers the Mavericks have is reigning All-NBA First-Team member Luka Doncic. Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren praised the dynamic and versatile skill-set that Doncic brings to the table.

Bjorkgren expressed how the Pacers will need to use “multiple defensive looks” to try to slow Doncic down. 

Will Myles Turner Play? 

Bjorkgren was asked about the availability of Myles Turner, JaKarr Sampson, and Jeremy Lamb for this matchup. He expressed that 'all three could go' but he expects 'two of the three' to play. 

Jeremy Lamb Has the 'Green Light' to Play

After suffering a torn ACL midseason in 2019-20, Jeremy Lamb hasn't suited up for game action with the Pacers. He is getting close to doing so. Bjorkgren stated that Lamb has the “green light” from the training staff to play. 

Nate Bjorkgren's Rise 

The 2020-21 season is the first time that Bjorkgren has held a head coaching role in the NBA. He began coaching in the G-League as an assistant in 2007 and ultimately was an NBA assistant for a half-decade. 

Carlisle made it clear how he admires the work Bjorkgren has put in to become a head coach at the NBA level. 

Fans in the Stands

The Pacers will have up to 1,000 fans in attendance for this matchup. It's the first time Indiana has permitted a select number of fans to attend all season. 

Carlisle “didn't notice” much of a difference playing against teams with a limited attendance since crowd noise is still pumped in. Regardless, he expressed how getting some fans into the arena is “great” to see.

New NBA Safety Protocols

The NBA will now have security personnel on the court to enforce the new safety protocols for players after games. Carlisle approves of these new protocols and made it clear that maximizing safety is a priority.