Coming into the past week, the Indiana Pacers wanted to move on from their two-game skid against the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks. Prior to those two losses, Indy won four in a row and that streak put that horrendous 0-3 start behind them.
With a three-game slate against the Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, and Memphis Grizzlies, the Pacers wanted to go back to their winning ways. They did so in resounding fashion despite missing leading scorer Victor Oladipo and several key players.
Indiana squared off against the 5-8 Nets at Barclays Center on November 19. The Pacers have not lost to the Nets on the road since 2016 and wanted to assert themselves against the New Yorkers once again.
While the Nets played without the All-Star duo of Kevin Durant (Achilles tendon) and Kyrie Irving (right shoulder impingement), the Pacers were without Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and T.J. McConnell.
How a Huge Second Quarter Helped the Pacers
Despite a slew of injuries, Indiana held serve. The visiting team outscored the home squad 41-17 in the second quarter. Seldom-used point guard Naz Mitrou-Long scored seven consecutive points to start the run.
The Holiday brothers, Aaron and Justin, got in on the act as well. The duo combined for three triples in the quarter increase the Pacers’ lead to 24 at the half, 59-35.
Behind the exploits of Spencer Dinwiddie (who finished with 28 points), Brooklyn trimmed the deficit to 12 in the second half. However, the Nets couldn’t sustain their momentum.
The Pacers continued to dominate the Nets with a 115-86 win. Aaron Holiday played his finest game as a pro. He finished with 24 points and 13 assists. His brother Justin finished with 20 points. Both Holiday brothers drilled four three-pointers.
Next up for Indy was the Orlando Magic on November 24. The Pacers were coming off a four-day break. Could they sustain their momentum?
Indiana did, but not without a fight from a gallant Orlando side. The 6-9 Magic played without center Nikola Vucevic (17.1 ppg) and Aaron Gordon (13.1 ppg), their second- and fourth-leading scorers, respectively. The former has a right lateral ankle sprain while the latter has a right ankle contusion.
Aaron Holiday continued to play well in the absence of Brogdon. Holiday started at the point guard spot and finished with 13 points and four assists. He made the go-ahead three-pointer off an assist from his brother Justin with 8.7 seconds remaining in the game. Justin Holiday iced the game with two free throws for a final score of 111-106.
Indiana threatened to pull away after it established a 10-point lead at the break. However, Orlando fought back in the second half. The Magic took a five-point lead after point guard D.J. Augustin made two free throws with 1:59 left in the third quarter.
The game remained close until the final buzzer. Fortunately, the younger Holiday made the three-pointer during a critical juncture of the game.
Pacers power forward Domantas Sabonis led Indiana with 25 points and nine rebounds, Shooting guard Jeremy Lamb, who missed the previous seven games with a sprained ankle, chipped in with 14 points.
His counterpart, Evan Fournier, led the Magic with 26 points. Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
The Pacers Attack on Memphis and Ja Morant
The Pacers then took on Ja Morant and the young Memphis Grizzlies at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 25. The game featured the return of starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon, who sat out Indiana’s previous three games with back spasms.
The Pacers beat the Grizzlies 126-114 for their third straight win and seventh in the last nine games. Indiana’s 126 points are a season high. The team also shot 54.3 percent from the field and made 18 three-pointers. Aaron Holiday (16 points) continued to wax hot as he made four triples. T.J. Warren (26 points), Jeremy Lamb (19 points), and Justin Holiday (nine points) made three each.
The Pacers had a 66-56 lead at the half. The lead ballooned to 29 points in the early going of the fourth quarter at 112-83. Jaren Jackson, Jr., who attended Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis, led Memphis with 28 points. The Grizzlies lost for the 11th time in 16 games.
Pacers Seek to Gain More Traction in the East as the Pacers Odds Trend Evenly with the Jazz
A deeper Indiana Pacers squad seeks a four-game winning streak (and eighth win in its last 10 games) against the Utah Jazz on November 27. The 11-6 Jazz are the sixth seed in the Western Conference. Utah has won three of its past four games.
These are two evenly-matched teams on paper. The Jazz allow the fourth-fewest points in the NBA (103.5). For their part, the Pacers are sixth in the league. They allow just 103.9 points per game.
Expect Brogdon, Warren, Lamb, and the Holiday brothers to come out with all guns blazing. On the other hand, Donovan Mitchell (25.6 ppg) and former Pacer Bojan Bogdanovic (20.9 ppg) should give Indiana trouble.
The Pacers odds and Pacers moneyline shouldn’t have a huge disparity against the Jazz. In all likelihood, oddsmakers will slightly favor Utah because of its better record. Whatever the outcome, expect a nip-and-tuck affair on Wednesday.