The Indiana Pacers are traveling down to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans tonight at the Smoothie King Center. Tip off for the game is scheduled for 8pm EST and this game will showcase both teams missing quite a few key players. The Pacers will be without Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. McConnell, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, T.J. Warren, and possibly Caris LeVert, who is listed as questionable. The Pelicans will be without leading man Brandon Ingram and possibly guard Devonte Graham, who is listed as questionable for the game. Due to all these injuries, this game could get sloppy and both teams will need their role players to step up and help them earn a win. The Pacers come in needing a win after losing 11 of their last 14 games but did just go on the road and beat both the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers in impressive fashion. As for New Orleans, they have split their last eight game and are looking for a win as they currently sit right outside the Western Conference play-in playoff picture.
The Pelicans come in with a record of 17-28 while the Pacers have a similar record, sitting at 17-30. Neither of these two teams is considered good around the association but nonetheless, both teams have their strengths which could lead to an interesting game. These two teams previously met earlier in the season with Indiana taking the game 111-94 at home. This will be the last time these two teams see each other this season, barring any surprise NBA Finals runs from both teams.
How Indiana can win: With the majority of their best players not playing in this game, it’ll likely be tough for the Pacers to score the ball. Indiana is averaging 108.2 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting and is allowing 109.1 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting. If they can get Caris LeVert in the lineup for this game, it would make a big difference. He has been one of the leaders for this Pacers team and would allow them to have more scorers on the court. However, if he can’t go they will need rookie Chris Duarte to play some heavy minutes and provide the scoring punch. Duarte has been one of the bright spots for the Pacers this season though all the injury issues, averaging 13.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. He has been able to come in and contribute right away due to having the ability to get real NBA minutes in his development.
As a team, the Pacers are shooting 32.8 percent from beyond the three-point line and 77.2 percent from the free throw line. In a game where scoring may be an issue, the Pacers will need to make sure they hit their free throws when given the opportunity.
How New Orleans can win: The Pelicans have won three straight games at home, including over the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers. They have played their best basketball this season in the comfort of Smoothie King Center. They are coming off a nice win on the road against the New York Knicks and are looking to keep some momentum alive with another game at home. With Sabonis out of the lineup for Indiana, New Orleans should look to attack the paint with Jonas Valančiūnas due to the mismatch that he will likely have. Rebounding could play a major role in the outcome of this game due to the limited scoring ability on the court for the teams so making sure to win the rebounding battle should be a point of emphasis for the Pelicans.
Without Ingram in the lineup, the Pelicans are going to need a strong performance from their role players in order to beat the Pacers. As a team, the Pelicans are averaging 105.5 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting and are allowing 109.7 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting. This team isn’t the best defensively but against the Pacers bench players, it may not matter too much. However, they shouldn’t overlook this Pacers team as they have shown they can win without their best players on any given night.
Let’s set the pace this week 💪
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 24, 2022
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Moneyline: NO: (-136) | IND: (+116)
Spread: NO: -2.5 (-110) | IND: +2.5 (-110)
Final Prediction: New Orleans Pelicans 103 Indiana Pacers 98
-Give me the home team here as the Pacers are slowly watching their season slip away with all the injuries they have accumulated. The Pelicans are the healthier team and are playing at home, where they have played much better of late. It will likely be a hard-fought, claw and scratch, type of game with the home team ultimately coming out with the win.