The Indiana Pacers wrap up a five-game trip through the Western Conference with their lone visit of the season to New Orleans on Monday.
Indiana Pacers vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Monday, January 24, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Smoothie King Center
The Indiana Pacers and New Orleans are two of the most frustrating and disappointing teams in the NBA this season as they square off Monday night in the Big Easy.
It concludes the season series as on Nov. 20, Indiana was a 7.5-point home favorite and they beat the Pelicans 111-94 behind 20 points and 10 rebounds from Domantas Sabonis, although he probably will not play in this one. Myles Turner had 11 points and nine rebounds and was plus-32 in just 26 minutes, but he won’t play Monday for sure. Indiana led by 13 after one and really never was threatened after that.
New Orleans shot just 39.8 percent. Jonas Valanciunas was about the only Pelicans player who showed up with 19 points and 13 rebounds but was minus-22. Josh Hart was a whopping minus-34 in 24 minutes.
Indiana leads the all-time series 26-17 and is 13-9 as the road team, winning in New Orleans 118-116 in OT last season. The Pelicans are 9-3 against the spread at most betting sites in the past 12 meetings.
Pacers Likely Down at Least Two Key Players
Indiana is 2-2 on its five-game trip with upset wins at the Lakers and Warriors but off a 113-103 loss in Phoenix on Saturday. The Suns had a 59-54 halftime and then went on an 8-0 run to start the third quarter to take control and it was essentially over. Phoenix scored 66 points in the paint — the most by a Pacers opponent this season.
Coach Rick Carlisle’s team had six players in the inactive list, including its top three scorers in Domantas Sabonis (ankle), Malcolm Brogdon (sore right Achilles) and Caris LeVert (sore right calf).
Obviously, it’s a bit of a challenging handicapping this game not knowing if they will play – Brogdon, the former NBA Rookie of the Year, will not and I’m pretty sure Sabonis won’t. LeVert has missed the past two and will be a game-time call. He had a franchise record of 22 fourth-quarter points in his last game vs. the Lakers.
Expect the Pacers to be active ahead of next month’s trade deadline, although maybe the No. 1 guy who was most likely to be dealt, center Myles Turner, will be out past the deadline with a stress reaction in his foot so that may scare off any suitors. The reason why the Suns scored so many points in the paint was that Sabonis and Turner were out. Indiana is 4-1 ATS in its past five road games.
Pelicans Will Not Have Ingram
Rather oddly, the Pelicans have played just once in the past week, winning 102-91 at the Knicks on Thursday to snap a two-game skid. All-Star Brandon Ingram, who averages 22.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game, had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds before leaving with an ankle injury.
He hasn’t been able to practice since and will not play Monday. Of course, the Pels remain without former No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson as he works his way back from a foot injury, and it gets more doubtful by the day that he plays this season at all.
Even without Zion, New Orleans should have a better record than 17-28 as this is a talented bunch. Center Jonas Valanciunas could be an All-Star this year. He is second on the team in scoring (18.4 points per game) and fourth in the NBA in rebounding (12.0 per). Thanks in large part to JV, the Pels rank fourth in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game (11.7).
Herb Jones was a second-round steal in the 2021 draft out of Alabama. He leads all rookies in steals per game (1.5) and is second in total blocks (39). Jones is ranked fifth in the league among all players in total deflections (123). He may win Defensive Player of the Year someday.
Guard Devonte’ Graham is tied for 12th in the NBA in three-pointers made per game (3.0) and tied for ninth in total three-pointers made with 127. He’s questionable with an ankle injury.
New Orleans is 7-2 ATS in its past nine at home so the Pels are the NBA pick for tonight, really only because they are home.
Valanciunas could dominate against that short-handed Indiana frontcourt.
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