The Indiana Pacers have two All-Star caliber players in the form of Domantas Sabonis and Michael Brogdon. While Brogdon has been injured, Sabonis’ assist total has fallen but he can be expected to return to form in the coming time. He is currently shooting at 61.6% overall, which is a career-high.
The Pacers have gone off to decent starts in games but have struggled to maintain intensity. They lack a couple of bench options in the form of TJ Warren and Isaiah Jackson apart from Michael Brogdon and have struggled with their 3-point shooting as well.
While the Pacers have enough talent to make it to the playoffs, head coach Rick Carlisle claimed recently that the team needs to stick together in order to improve defensively.
Sabonis has not been as prolific as recent seasons but his efficiency has seen a stark improvement this time around. He is taking just 10 attempts per game, his lowest in two years.
Sabonis is expected to blow up in the coming matches and is also currently producing only 3.7 assists per game, a decrease in overall output which could be down to a lack of shooters around him. He is shooting at just over 70% from inside the arc, but at just above 22% from beyond, which is also a cause for concern.
Regardless, Sabonis has been an All-Star for two straight seasons and can be expected to deliver in the upcoming games.
The Denver Nuggets are looking for their third straight win. Jokic produced a double-double against the Rockets and followed it up with a 25-point triple-double against the Portland Trail Blazers. Will Barton is threatening to produce a breakthrough season and has scored at least 25 points in two of his last three outings.
Michael Porter Jr. has joined Jamal Murray on the injury list. While the Nuggets have issues with their offense, they have been an exemplary defensive unit this season and will now be looking to improve on their 6-4 start to the campaign.
The reigning MVP has been forced to play an increased number of minutes thus far due to the extent of injuries that the Nuggets are currently dealing with. Apart from his excellent offensive contributions, Nikola Jokic has also shown an increase in defensive output and is currently averaging a career-high 1.6 steals and 1 block per game.
Jokic’s importance to the Nuggets’ side appears to have increased even further for the time being, and they will be counting on him again to deliver against the Indiana Pacers.
Pacers vs Nuggets Prediction
The Indiana Pacers might struggle due to their ailing defense and will need to maintain better intensity than in recent games. Against the Kings, they struggled to close out the game quickly, allowing only for a close 3-point victory.
The Denver Nuggets, on the other hand, have Nikola Jokic in commanding form and should be considered the favorites for this matchup.
After their first two-day rest of the season, the Pacers are gearing up for perhaps the toughest back-to-back slate in the NBA for Eastern Conference teams — visits to the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz.
Up first are the Denver Nuggets (6-4), who will be looking for their third-straight victory after defeating the Miami Heat, 113-96, on Monday night. However, they will be without a few key players when entering their bout with the Blue & Gold.
The Nuggets are already playing without Jamal Murray as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered late last season. Last Saturday, Denver escaped with a 95-94 win over the 1-9 Houston Rockets but it came at a cost. In the first quarter, third-year guard Michael Porter Jr. (9.9 points, 6.6 rebounds per game) appeared to injure his back after a seemingly innocuous layup attempt on a 3-on-0 fast break. He exited a few plays later and did not return. On Monday, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone announced he would be out for the “foreseeable future.” Porter agreed to a five-year rookie-scale max extension on September 29.
To boot, the mile-high squad will be without 2020-21 NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. Against the Heat, the 6-11, 284-pound center retaliated to a shove from Markieff Morris, sending Morris to the ground injured. Jokic was ejected for his aggression and the NBA officially suspended Jokic for Wednesday’s game on Tuesday night. Through 10 games, he has been averaging team-highs in points (25.4), rebounds (13.6), and assists (5.7).