The Indiana Pacers go for their sixth straight win — and second straight over a Western Conference contender — when they visit the Utah Jazz on Monday night. Indiana is coming off a win over Denver on Sunday, while the Jazz earned an easy home win over Sacramento on Saturday.
As Victor Oladipo gets closer to finally returning to the Pacers’ lineup, all the team can do is keep grinding and try to win as much as it can to be in position for a good playoff seed. There are several teams vying for home-court for the opening round in the East, and it is going to take a minimum of 50 to 53 wins to get there.
Indiana is at the perfect pace right now, so if it can have this kind of success or better over their next 40 games, it should work out.
Just when we thought Utah was starting to play well, it gets veteran Mike Conley back in the lineup. He didn’t do much in his 15 minutes on the floor against Sacramento on Saturday, but now that he is back, he will start to find his rhythm out there.
Playing next to Jordan Clarkson will take playmaking pressure off him and allow him to lock in on defense. The team just re-signed Royce O’Neale to a four-year deal worth $36 million as the core starts to come together. The Jazz seem to be figuring out who will be there for the long haul.
The scorching-hot Jazz are seven-point favorites, while the over/under is set at 217 points.
Indy Looking For Another Big Road Win
Coming in off a win over the Nuggets, Indiana has another tough Western Conference test against a Jazz team that has hardly taken defeats in the last several weeks. Going against Rudy Gobert, the Pacers are going to have to work hard to score their points in the paint.
Indiana players will see their old friend, Bojan Bogdanovic, now in an even-more alpha role alongside Donovan Mitchell. Domantas Sabonis will have a tough matchup against O’Neale trying to play the perimeter, so we’ll see how it pans out for them. This is not a great matchup at many positions for Indiana.
The Pacers will need a lot of scoring from their bench in this one, from T.J. McConnell to Aaron and Justin Holiday. When the reserves play well, the team is tough to stop.
Utah Looking For Another Streak
Defeating this team has been nearly impossible in recent weeks, as the Jazz’s defense continues to improve along with their offense. He is not a clear-cut All-Star in year three, but Mitchell continues to be a force and shows he is the offensive leader.
Bogdanovic is giving Utah baskets everywhere, while Gobert continues to make things happen around the basket on defense. Joe Ingles is starting to make threes at a rate we have never seen, while Clarkson has been the instant offense the Jazz expected to get when they brought him in.
The decision to let Jeff Green go was an interesting one, but new addition Rayjon Tucker and Georges Niang have both provided good backup forward minutes.
Utah Gets Another Win
This will end up another good win for the Jazz as they improve to 30-13. It will be hard to catch up to the Lakers, but they are certainly in the running for the No. 2 seed in the West. Take Utah in this one.
Free Play: UTAH -7
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