Indiana Pacers vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Indiana Pacers vs Oklahoma City Thunder

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK

When: Wednesday, March 27th at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, Fox Sports Indiana, and Fox Sports Oklahoma | 1070 The Fan/107.5 FM and WWLS 98.1FM OKC / 930AM (ESP)

Indiana Pacers (Away)

Head Coach: Nate McMillan {All-Time 613-555 | SEA, POR, IND}

Expected Starting Five: (G) Darren Collison – (G) Wesley Matthews – (F) Bojan Bogdanovic – (F) Thaddeus Young – (C) Myles Turner

The Indiana Pacers are priming themselves for what looks to be a difficult playoff run. They currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, with a two game lead over the trailing Boston Celtics. They are likely out of the running for the top three, so Indiana is preparing themselves for a difficult first-round match.

Managing health and injuries is paramount for the Pacers at this point in the season. Over their last ten games, the Pacers are 4-6 with a recent blowout win over the Denver Nuggets. They will take on an Oklahoma City Thunder team who are fighting for seeding.

The last match between the Pacers and Thunder was a wild, last-second affair. The Pacers will look to bunker down on defence in order to prevent such a fiasco in this match. Darren Collison is expected to be back, which is key in their attempts to stop Russell Westbrook.

Oklahoma City Thunder (Home)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 193-127 | OKC}

Expected Starting Five: (G) Russell Westbrook – (G) Terrance Ferguson – (F) Paul George – (F) Jerami Grant – (C) Steven Adams

The Oklahoma City Thunder are in a near three-way deadlock with the Utah Jazz and the San Antonio Spurs. Tied three ways with a record of 43-30, a single loss or win will send the Thunder closer to the top four or down to the eighth position.

The Thunder have been struggling as of late. A combination of poor play and talented teams have forced the Thunder into a 4-6 record in their last ten. Most recently the Thunder lost by twelve to the bottom-feeding Memphis Grizzlies and were shredded defensively by Bruno Caboclo.

Oklahoma City will want to sort out their defensive issues when they take on the Indiana Pacers. They lost in a heartbreaker in their last match and will be sure to secure their lead this time out. Russell Westbrook will have to pick up his game if the Thunder hope to come out with a win.

What’s At Stake?

The Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder have played a total of twenty games in the history of their respective franchises. The series is all-square with a record of 10-10 going both ways.

A win for the Indiana Pacers would keep them fourth in the East and 1.5 games back of the Philadelphia 76ers who are in third.

A win for the Oklahoma City Thunder would tie them with the Los Angeles Clippers who are fifth in the West.

Questions to answer

How did the Pacers blow out the Nuggets?

Can the OKC shooters find their mark?

We are going to compare the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Pacers Defeated the Nuggets, 124-88

The Indiana Pacers went into their match against the Nuggets with their heads hanging. Their offensive problems didn’t seem to be improving, but they had the benefit of returning home after a 0-4 West Coast road trip. Unfortunately for them, it was against one of the NBA’s best the Denver Nuggets.

Contrary to the assumed result though, the Pacers were able to take the game by the reigns. Home sweet home may be the best phrase to use, as Indiana pulled off their eighth best shooting game of the season. The Pacers trailed only once during the entire game, en route to their 36-point victory.

 

 

The Pacers were led by Bojan Bogdanovic’s 35-point night, but it was a team effort in taking down the Nuggets. As a team the Pacers accumulated 35 assists, shot 56% from the field, and committed only 11 turnovers on the game. The also punished the Nuggets mistakes to the tune of 25 points off of Nuggets turnovers. Such offence combined with their already impressive defence will be a tough match for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Oklahoma City Needs To Convert From 3

It would be easy to say that the Oklahoma City Thunder are a team driven by the efforts of Russell Westbrook and Paul George. While that is certainly true, the Thunder need contributions from every player in their lineup. Recently, three specific players have been unable to find their mark from range.

Terrance Ferguson, Dennis Schroder, and Paul George are the Thunder’s three main threats from range. Off of Westbrook penetration, those three are the primary outlets for wide open three’s. Unfortunately, post-All-Star Break, none of them have shot better than 31% from three.

Ferguson (28%), Schroder (25%), and George (31%) are all better shooters than their post-break numbers suggest. While slumping is a part of basketball, they will have to find some kind of rhythm going forward. Whether it is at the rim or from range, the Thunder need production from their wing spots going forward.

Indiana Pacers Roster Notes

G Darren Collison – 24 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Quad) – Collison was ruled OUT for Sunday’s (Mar. 24) game, but is expected to play against the Thunder.

G Victor Oladipo – 28 Jan 2019 – Out For Season (Ruptured Right Quadricep Tendon) – The Pacers announced Oladipo had a successful surgery on Monday (Jan 28) to repair a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee and is expected to make a full recovery.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

G-F Andre Roberson – 21 Mar 2019 – Out (Knee) – Roberson is still without a timetable for his return, though he has progressed to some on-court drills.

Head-to-Head: Darren Collison (IND) vs Russell Westbrook (OKC)

Keep your eyes on the point of attack when the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder face-off. Darren Collison is coming back after an injury to his quad, while Russell Westbrook is looking to improve his efficiency going forward. It should be an exciting matchup.

Darren Collison

Point Guard | 6-0, 175lb (183cm, 79kg) | UCLA | Exp. 9 Years

11.3 PPG | 6.0 APG | 3.1 RPG | 1.5 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 1.6 TOV | .472 FG% | .416 3P%

Darren Collison has missed the last three games due to a quad injury. While Cory Joseph is one of the NBA’s best backup guards, Collison’s return to the lineup is welcome. In their two losses to the Clippers and Warriors, Collison’s shooting and defensive ability were sorely missed. While the Pacers blew out the Denver Nuggets at home, they will welcome their leader back to the court as he tries to slow down the slumping Russell Westbrook.

Russell Westbrook

Point Guard| 6-3, 200lb (190cm, 90kg) | UCLA | Exp. 10 Years

23.0 PPG | 10.4 APG | 11.0 RPG | 2.0 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 4.6 TOV | .425 FG% | .285 3P%

Russell Westbrook has shot poorly in his last two games. He was a combined 12-40 against the Grizzlies and Raptors and converted on less than 20% of his threes in those games. On the positive side he has 20 assists in the last two games, proving that he is not a black hole on offence. The Pacers have one of the NBA’s most diligent defences, so Westbrook will need to be more selective in order to come out victorious.

Indiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Oklahoma City Thunder favoured over the Indiana Pacers by 6, with an over/under of 110.