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Game Preview: Suns host new-look Pacers, aim for fifth straight win

The Phoenix Suns host the Indiana Pacers in search of their fifth straight win.

Phoenix Suns v Indiana Pacers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Who: Phoenix Suns (23-18) vs. Indiana Pacers (24-18)

When: 6:00 pm AZ Time

Where: Footprint Center — Phoenix, Arizona

Watch: 3TV and Arizona’s Family Sports

Listen: KMVP 98.7 FM


The surging Suns return to Phoenix after quite the performance on the road in New Orleans. They just concluded a stretch where they spent four of their past five games on the road.

The Suns have now won 9 of their last 12 games and four in a row. In their last contest, Devin Booker put together a memorable masterclass dropping 52 points including 25 in the first quarter against the pesky Pelicans.

The Phoenix Suns “big 3” is starting to figure things out, and with the way Grayson Allen is playing it’s looking like a big four. Offensive balance will be the key the rest of the season as they alternate scoring outbursts and play off the hot hand(s).

Indiana made a blockbuster deal, trading for Raptors star Pascal Siakam last week. He made his debut on Friday night, scoring 21 points in 34 minutes in a loss to the Blazers in Portland.

Even though they lost the game to a bad Blazers team, their lineup showed flashes of why that move could make them dangerous.

Probable Starters

Phoenix:

  • Jusuf Nurkic
  • Kevin Durant
  • Grayson Allen
  • Bradley Beal
  • Devin Booker

Indiana:

  • Myles Turner
  • Pascal Siakam
  • Aaron Nesmith
  • Buddy Hield
  • Tyrese Haliburton*

Injury Report

Suns:

  • Bol Bol - OUT (Right Ankle Sprain)
  • Damion Lee - OUT (Right Meniscus Surgery)

Indiana Pacers:

  • Tyrese Haliburton - QUESTIONABLE (Hamstring Injury Management)
  • Andrew Nembhard - QUESTIONABLE (Back)
  • Isaiah Jackson - OUT (concussion)

What to Watch For

The injury report will play a huge role in this one. If Tyrese Haliburton is unable to go it changes the entire dynamic of the Pacers team. They still have a deep team that is capable of playing competitive basketball without him, but that will be the first domino to watch.

  • Pace, Pace, Pacers

The Pacers are second in the NBA in pace at 103.1 trailing only the Washington Wizards. They like to get out in transition and generate clean looks at the rim or for their shooters (Hield, Nesmith, Mathurin, Turner, etc.) with Haliburton leading the way.

They will let it fly from deep, averaging over 37 attempts per game from three-point range. The Suns’ defense has to be alert or they will hang 125+ points on them in hurry. They like to play fast and the Suns need to find a way to use that against them.

Phoenix Suns v Indiana Pacers Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images
  • Containing Siakam

The Suns have struggled to stay in front of Siakam in the past, but have done a better job of late. In his past two contests against the Suns they have held him to 41 points in 74 minutes on 42% field goal shooting. Insert Kevin Durant.

His stretch of terror against the 2020 & 2021 Suns teams where he scored 30+ in three straight games lives rent free in Suns fans’ heads.

Stay in front of him, force him to settle for jumpers and don’t hack him. Easier said than done, but the last thing you want to do is give a player on a new team confidence.

  • Battle of the Bigs

Nurkic vs. Turner will be a fascinating matchup, as the two players are almost complete opposites in terms of skills sets.

Turner was shooting the rock with confidence in their loss to the Blazers on Friday, connecting on 6-10 three point field goals. Phoenix will need to make sure to close out strong against the Pacers big man.

Washington Wizards v Indiana Pacers Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Nurkic will need to keep Turner out of the paint defensively, serving as a playmaker from the top of the key to open up the interior. Eliminating Turner as a shot blocker changes the dynamic of the Pacers’ defense.

Prediction

Suns keep the good times rolling and win their fifth straight in a competitive ball game.

Phoenix 119-113.

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