After breaking out during the second half of the ’18-19 season with the Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz F Bojan Bogdanovic has looked like a star with his new club.
The last time the Utah Jazz were in Indianapolis for a road bout with the Indiana Pacers, things did not go well for Donovan Mitchell and his crew. Thanks in large part to Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored a team-high 21 points and hit 3-of-4 3-point shots, the Jazz band fell flat in a 27-point loss and dropped below .500 in the process.
One year later (almost to the day) Bogdanovic is back in Indy, only this time he’ll be rocking Jazz blue and doing his best to aid Mitchell in his effort to run the Pacers off of the proverbial road. Utah and Indiana will go head-to-head once again on Wednesday.
While it may not have the same pomp and circumstance as Mike Conley‘s return to Memphis after the floor general had spent the first 12 years of his career there, Bogey’s return to Indiana is undoubtedly a big deal. Last season, he became the heart and soul of an injury-ravaged Pacers team down the stretch.
After Indy’s All-Star, Victor Oladipo, went down with a ruptured right quad, hoops pundits everywhere began throwing dirt on the coffin of what had been a promising season in short order. Sure, the Pacers were 32-15 at the time, but without Oladipo, they’d probably find themselves battling for a No. 8 seed by year’s end, right?
Following Oladipo’s injury, Bogdanovic took his game to a new level, putting up 20 points per game on 50 percent shooting and 42 percent from deep over the remainder of the campaign. As a result, the Pacers won nearly 50 games and advanced to postseason play with relative ease.
Fans in Indy undoubtedly haven’t forgotten Bogdanovic’s heroics, but there’s a good chance any residual soft, fuzzy feelings will fade as Wednesday’s game wears on — the former Pacer has continued to get buckets in droves for the Jazz, matching his post-Oladipo injury numbers in the 801, and he’ll undoubtedly be aiming for a big night in his homecoming.
Like the Jazz, the Pacers have a strong defense (they’re currently yielding just 103.4 points per 100 possessions) and the four-headed monster of Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, TJ Warren and Jeremy Lamb will give the Jazz fits on both sides of the ball.
But if Bogey and the Jazz continue to shoot the ball as they have been recently (they just hit a franchise-record 21 3-pointers in one game on Monday), it will be difficult for Indy to keep them down.
Tip-off: 5:00 PM MT on November 27 from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: The Zone Sports Network (97.5 FM & 1280 AM Salt Lake City)
Projected Starting Lineups
|Utah Jazz||Position||Indiana Pacers|
|Tony Bradley||C||Myles Turner|
|Royce O’Neale||PF||Domantas Sabonis|
|Bojan Bogdanovic||SF||TJ Warren|
|Donovan Mitchell||SG||Jeremy Lamb|
|Mike Conley||PG||Malcolm Brogdon|
Rudy Gobert has been day-to-day with his left ankle sprain; he’s currently listed as questionable to play in Indy and I would anticipate the Jazz keeping him out just to be cautious. Ed Davis also continues to be on the shelf with a fractured left fibula.
After a strong performance against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, I would expect to see Tony Bradley start and get some good minutes versus the Pacers.
Indiana, meanwhile, will obviously be without Oladipo as he continues to rehab following knee surgery. Edmond Sumner continues to be out with a fractured right hand and JaKarr Sampson (back soreness) will likely miss his fourth straight contest.
Even after a heartbreaking loss to the Bucks and with the likelihood that the Stifle Tower will be closed once again, I’ve got a good feeling about this one for the Jazz.
While the Pacers have done well to keep themselves afloat in Oladipo’s absence, winning their last three games and seven of their last nine at home, they’re also just a few, short days removed from needing a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the now 6-10 Orlando Magic. And the Jazz offense has been showing flashes of its massive potential more and more recently.
If they can hang in there for a full 48 minutes, I think Utah gets back to its winning ways in this one with a victory in the area of 114-106.
#UTAatIND is the Twitter hashtag for the Jazz-Pacers affair. The live comment thread below will be up and rolling for your leisure throughout the game as well. Go Jazz!