Indiana Pacers (13-12)
Utah Jazz (14-12)
The Indiana Pacers return home for a night and can put away the tough loss to divisional foe, the Milwaukee Bucks this evening. The Utah Jazz bring hometown hero, Gordon Hayward, who always gets a warm welcome from the crowd at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. Both teams are right around the same record, so tonight should be a highly competitive game. Both teams are playing the second evening of a back to back so that could lead to one team out lasting the other. The Pacers are 5-2 this season in the second game of the back to back set. They’ll prove their defensive prowess against a team that can put up points in the Jazz. Just ask the Toronto Raptors, who got 131 poured in on them. The Lakers got 117, not exactly a highlight for the Lakers this season.
Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson will test out their play after coming back from injuries. Both guys had small ones, but an injury is an injury. Hibbert will get a battle from Al Jefferson, who’s averaging almost 18 points a game. The defensive side of Hibbert, which has been a bright spot, will have to step up and slow down Jefferson. Stephenson will have to slow down Hayward in his defensive assignment.
I think the return to home will be good for the Pacers, even if it’s just for an evening. The crowd can fuel them, and I hope that they can get a win to make up for last night’s game. One area to watch is the turnovers, as the Pacers had 20 in the evening last night. That’s 20 too many. This team is one that can’t seem to make those crisp passes at times, so it’s important to watch the passing. I expect it to be a close game throughout, but I can see the Pacers pulling a small victory this evening.