Pacers seek first win tonight against Utah Jazz


After a somewhat unfortunate 0-2 start, the Indiana Pacers aim to turn the tide tonight when the Utah Jazz come into town led by Butler grad Gordon Hayward.

WHO: Indiana Pacers (0-2) v. Utah Jazz (1-1)
WHEN: Tonight, 7 pm ET / 6 pm CT
WHERE: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, IN)

TV: Fox Sports Indiana
RADIO: 1070 the Fan
STREAM: Fox Sports Go and on the FSGO app

The Pacers
An opening night loss in Toronto to the Raptors was followed by a loss in the home opener against the Memphis Grizzlies, sending Indy to a 0-2 start for the first time since 2009. However, after a days rest and recover, the Blue & Gold welcome the Utah Jazz to town in looking for their first win.

There are no fresh injury concerns, but with the Jazz playing a bigger line-up including Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, Jordan Hill could be inserted in with Ian Mahinmi like in the starting five against Memphis. It would be great to see Myles Turner earn that position eventually, but it might not be tonight.

One of the key things to watch tonight is the play of Monta Ellis, who has not had a great start in a Pacers uniform. Ellis is a combined 6-23 so far and has struggled to find his place in an ever-changing Indiana offense. Many players on the team spoke about not having a locked down rotation yet, but also acknowledged that it is something to get used to until that rotation arrives.

Paul George will almost assuredly look to step up his efficiency as well after a decent opening two games. His double-double average is a huge positive, don’t get me wrong. Some would say you could chalk up his 28% start from the field as just an adjustment to, again, a constantly rotating five on the floor. If Paul George is up against Hayward tonight, he’ll have to keep up a high level on both ends.

The Jazz
Utah comes in at 1-1 after a 99-71 win over Philadelphia followed a season-opening loss in Detroit. However, Indiana is the last stop in the road trip out east for Utah and they will return home to face the Portland Trail Blazers on November 4.

Favors leads the team in scoring through two games, averaging 23 points per game, and Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, and Gordon Hayward are all in the mix in the mid-teens. The Jazz as a team are sitting right around the middle of the pack offensively but rank near the bottom of the league in 93 points per game, though it is still plenty early.

Injury-wise, the Jazz have no restrictions with the exception of Dante Exum, who is still recovering from ACL surgery.

Next: Pacers lose home opener, fall to 0-2 on the season

The Pacers haven’t dropped to 0-3 since 2009, and before that it has been well over a decade, so a loss tonight would be somewhat of a shock to the system that Indiana may need. However, the Jazz are a team where the smashmouth way of going about may just work if head coach Frank Vogel opts for it. Indiana needs to find its groove offensively and work just as hard on the other end to avoid the worst.