On Wednesday, the Indiana Pacers (32-17) travel to Washington D.C to take on the Washington Wizards (21-29) in what hopes to be a bounce back game for both teams.
The Pacers have been struggling to find their groove ever since they lost their All-Star shooting guard, Victor Oladipo, for the season with a ruptured quad tendon exactly one week ago. Also, the team will be without guard Tyreke Evans, who is missing his second game in a row with back soreness. However, tonight’s game appears to be the perfect time to rebound as they take on a Washington team who has struggled lately, similar to the Pacers, but have had their fair share of struggles on defense throughout the whole season.
Players to Watch
With Tyreke Evans expected to miss his second game in a row, it appears that Sumner will also make his second straight start. Sumner had quite the task in his first start against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Monday where he went to battle with sharpshooter Klay Thompson. Last Wednesday, Sumner was playing the G-League with Pacers affiliate, Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Tonight’s matchup does not get any easier. Washington shooting guard Bradley Beal has been the focal point of the Wizards lineup this season with John Wall being out for the season with a heel injury. Beal is averaging 24.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game this season. Sumner’s first two starts will have been daunting but this provides valuable experience for the young guard moving forward.
I was initially expecting Aaron Holiday or Corey Joseph to replace Oladipo in the starting lineup, but Coach Nate McMillan opted to keep them both in the second unit to keep a sense of stability in it. However, Holiday has taken on a larger role as he has now seen at least 15 minutes of court time since Oladipo went down. Against Golden State, Holiday knocked down four of his five three-point attempts and tacked on two rebounds and two assists. The young duo of Aaron Holiday and Edmond Sumner will be exciting to watch as they truly jump start their season’s against another tough positional opponent.
Win the Season Series?
The Pacers and Wizards have battled twice already this season, both in Indiana and both in December. Both of those game were won by the Pacers. In the first game on December 10, Pacers came out with a narrow victory, winning 109-101. Center Myles Turner led the team with 26 points and 12 rebounds. In the second meeting on December 23, Indiana won with ease by knocking the Wizards out by a margin of 16, with a score of 105-89. The Pacers will see Washington two more times this year, tonight and once again in Washington on February 23.
Indiana looks to win the season series against Washington tonight at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. You can tune in to tonight’s game on ESPN or on Fox Sports Indiana at 8:00 pm.