It’s hard to make sense of the Indiana Pacers this season. They’ll win 7 of 10 and then go on a four-game losing skid. Their last three losses — Clippers, Jazz, Hawks. Last three wins — Thunder, Rockets, Grizzlies. Seems like they are a good bad team or a mediocre team that can’t do much to overcome the injury bug. That’s the kind of team that can click on all cylinders against an overmatched team like Detroit. Or they might just not show up at all and get run off the court.
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit Plus
Odds: Pistons +4.5
the Pacers are without three of their most important players. Domantas Sabonis is out with a back injury, Myles Turner is out with a toe injury and TJ Warren is lost for the season after foot surgery. They also could be without Jeremy Lamb, Doug, McDermott and Goga Bitadze. The idea of next man up gets a little more complicated when the next man needs to be replaced by the next next man.
Still, the Pacers seem like they are still capable of handling their business against the league’s worst, of which the Detroit Pistons certainly find themselves a member. Other than a couple strange losses to the Chicago Bulls, you can’t look at any games where they didn’t show up.
They’ve already beaten the Pistons twice this season, and Caris Levert had his best game in a Pacers uniform against Detroit and will look for a repeat showing tonight. The former Michigan guard scored 28 points to go with six rebounds and four assists in Indy’s 116-111 victory on March 24.
Detroit should have their full contingent of healthy players who matter with both Jerami Grant and Cory Joseph listed as probable for tonight’s matchup. Expect to see major minutes for players like Edmond Sumner who torched the Pistons off the bench for 18 points in the most recent matchup and Justin Holiday.
Another player worth highlighting, and someone I had to do a bit of a deep dive on out of ignorance is Oshae Brissett. Similar to Tyler Cook impressed Indiana as an undersized big man and after two 10-day contracts secured a multi-year deal with the Pacers.
With so many big men injured, Brissett has started two games and averaged 18 points on 54% shooting with a reliable 3-ball, nine rebounds and 3 stocks. The Isaiah Stewart vs. Brissett minutes should be interesting.
Detroit Pistons (18-42)
Killian Hayes, Josh Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee
Indiana Pacers (27-31)
Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Edmond Sumner, Justin Holiday, Goga Bitadze
Question of the Game
Will the Indiana Pacers emerge from the play-in tournament in the East?