Indiana Pacers: The Turbonis duo has a tough stretch ahead of them

Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis have been arguably the two most important pieces for the Indiana Pacers this season. While running two big men in the starting lineup has gotten more obscure recently, the Turbonis pairing has worked relatively well for Indiana.

Sabonis is the leader and facilitator of the offense while Turner is the anchor on the other end of the floor. While the Pacers do not have an overly impressive record at this point, the two big men are not completely at fault for the recent slide.

Sure, Sabonis has struggled a bit lately with hitting shots and Turner has failed to get involved offensively, but they are still the most important guys night in and night out.

The Indiana Pacers have some tough bigs on the upcoming schedule

While Indiana’s duo has done a great job up to this point, there are still some lingering questions. They have often struggled to out-rebound other bigs who excel at that juncture while also having a history of being dismantled by the premier big men in the league.

Unfortunately, those same guys that give Indiana fits are also all on the upcoming slate. With the first half of the season drawing to a close, Indiana does not have an easy final stretch. Following offensive superstars in Stephen Curry and Jayson Tatum, Indiana plays three very challenging bigs to end the first half.

At the same time, the Pacers are getting a bit of relief over these next few games as other bigs will not be in action.

Indiana travels to New York on Feb. 27 to face the Knicks who will be without Mitchell Robinson. Robinson is dealing with a hand injury and will not be available and that is a huge bonus for the Pacers. In two games this season against Indiana, Robinson has eight offensive rebounds and five blocked shots.

The Pacers also have the Cavaliers on the schedule for Mar. 3 but Andre Drummond will not be with the team as they seek a trade. Drummond is another notable Pacers killer, averaging 15.7 points and 14.6 rebounds in 32 career matchups.

However, Indiana will finish the first half against two MVP-caliber centers over their final three games. Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic both get their crack at the Pacers in the coming weeks.

Embiid is in the hunt for his first MVP award this season with a staggering 30.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. He has also had some massive performances including a 50-point showing earlier this week.

Embiid has been a handful for Turner and Sabonis in his career, which is not necessarily a slight to them but more of a credit to how talented Embiid is. He averages 28.4 points and 12.6 rebounds against Indiana in his career and was a menace in 2019-20. He played Indiana twice and had games of 41 points with 21 rebounds and 32 points with 11 rebounds.

In four meetings in 2018-19, Embiid averages 28.8 points and 14 rebounds. He has been unstoppable against the blue and gold.

Nikola Jokic is fighting for his own MVP award, averaging a near triple-double so far this season with 27 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 8.6 assists. Jokic is one of the best pure passers in the NBA and is easily the best passer among big men that I have ever seen.

With he and the Nuggets set to close out the first half against Indiana, the Pacers have to be on their A-game in order to go into the break on the right foot. Jamal Murray will present plenty of problems of his own, so Turner and Sabonis have to step up and limit Jokic however they can.