Thunder will be missing star player as Pacers play a must-win game

The Indiana Pacers face a critical game on Friday night against the Thunder. Some key players will be missing in that game.
Mar 12, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) defends a
Mar 12, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) defends a / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers are taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. It's a game that the Pacers have to win after a disappointing loss to the Nets on Wednesday. With just five games left in the season, they are locked in a standings battle.

Indiana is back up to sixth after the Heat lost to Philly on Thursday. That also means they are just one game ahead of the 8th spot. These last five games will determine whether the Pacers will be solidly in the playoffs or if they'll have to fight for their life in a play-in game.

The first of those five tests comes tonight in Indianapolis against the Thunder. Indiana already beat OKC three weeks ago in Oklahoma City 121-111. It was a defensive masterpiece from the Pacers as they held OKC to just 43% from the field. They might be able to do that again on Friday.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will miss game against the Pacers

Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will miss the game against the Pacers with a quad injury. He scored 30 points in the first matchup, so this is a huge loss for the Thunder. They are still fighting for the top seed in the Western Conference so they are looking for every win they can get.

Jalen Williams is also listed as doubtful for the game with an ankle injury. If he can't play either, that gives the Pacers a massive advantage. Oklahoma City could be without two of their three best players on the road. This makes this game even more of a must-win for the Pacers.

Myles Turner is officially listed as questionable for the game with that dislocated finger. I would actually be surprised if he played in this one, but it would be nice to have him. Neither center played particularly well against the Nets on Wednesday.

Next. Next story. Three most impactful injuries in recent Pacers history. dark

The Pacers have had issues beating bad teams but seem to get up for the good ones. The Thunder are one of the best teams in the NBA, so effort shouldn't be lacking in this one. It's one the Pacers absolutely have to have.