The struggling Sacramento Kings visit Bankers Life Fieldhouse to face off against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. The Pacers are ninth in the Eastern Conference and have faced a bevy of defeats lately.
They are fighting for dear life to hang on to their play-in spot and avoid any more losses. Meanwhile, the Kings are on a winning run, having won five of their last seven games. But it looks like it might be too late to save their season.
Fixture: Sacramento Kings vs Indiana Pacers | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Wednesday, May 5, 2021; 8:00 PM ET (Thursday, May 6th; 5:30 AM IST).
Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN.
Indiana Pacers Preview
The Indiana Pacers face a moderately tough schedule heading into their final eight games. They will take on the LA Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers in the coming two weeks and hence, cannot afford to lose the easy fixtures.
Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren hasn't made a good impact in his first season with the team. ESPN reported that the side's turmoil was often due to Bjorkgren's style of coaching both on and off the court and his communication with the players and staff was not well received.
He has shown a willingness to address those issues but given the end of the season, reports suggest that his future with the team is uncertain.
On a positive note, the Indiana Pacers have two league stat leaders on their roster. The NBA leader in blocks per game is Myles Turner with 3.4 swats a night and the leader in total steals is TJ McConnell with 109 total steals.
Caris LeVert has been incredible for the team as well. He dropped 33 points in their last outing against the Washington Wizards.
Key Player - Domantas Sabonis
25-year-old Domantas Sabonis is the best player on the Indiana Pacers roster. He is one of just 13 players in the league averaging a double-double with 20.2 points and 11.9 rebounds a game.
The Lithuanian-American has added pressure to succeed for the team given the injuries to Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner and Jeramy Lamb.
Indiana Pacers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Edmond Sumner | Shooting Guard - Caris LeVert | Small Forward - Oshae Brissett | Power Forward - Doug McDermott | Center - Domantas Sabonis.
Sacramento Kings Preview
The Sacramento Kings have chosen the wrong time to go on a winning run as it might be too late. They are currently 12th in the Western Conference and 4.5 games behind the final play-in spot (10th seed) with only seven games to go.
It would take a miracle for them to enter the play-in seeds and even if they were to hypothetically do that, they have no chance of grabbing a win in the postseason or play-in tournament.
Sacramento Kings fans faced another blow when their rookie Tyrese Haliburton went down with an injury. The MRI revealed no structural damage but the 21-year-old is not expected to return this season.
The Kings need to focus on the upcoming draft class and aim for a high pick. They currently have a 20.3% chance of getting a top-four pick and a 4.5% chance of getting the coveted first overall pick.
If they intentionally tank the rest of the seven games, those odds are bound to improve.
Key Player - Buddy Hield
Sharpshooter Buddy Hield is the only player left on the Sacramento Kings roster who could be considered a scoring threat. Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes and De'Aaron Fox are all injured and the offensive burden falls solely on Hield's shoulders.
He has hit a bunch of clutch shots for the Sacramento Kings this season and is second in three-pointers made with 256, behind only Stephen Curry.
Sacramento Kings Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Delon Wright | Shooting Guard - Buddy Hield | Small Forward - Maurice Harkless | Power Forward - Marvin Bagley III | Center - Richaun Holmes.
Kings vs Pacers Match Prediction
This game has the potential to go in either direction. The Sacramento Kings are on a run despite their injuries. Buddy Hield is dropping big numbers in the absence of the other starters and their momentum might give them an edge.
Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers' record and fewer injuries could result in a victory for them, too. How well the Pacers contain Hield will be critical to the final result.
Where to watch the Kings vs Pacers game?
The Sacramento Kings vs. Indiana Pacers game will be locally televised on Bally Sports Indiana and NBC Sports California. The match can also be streamed live on the NBA League Pass.