The NBA's play-in tournament round tips off tonight at 6:30 ET on TNT as the Eastern Conference No. 9 Indiana Pacers host the No. 10 Charlotte Hornets. The loser's season is over. The Pacers are 3-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds but will for sure be without Myles Turner, Caris LeVert (in a surprise) and Jeremy Lamb and are listing Malcolm Brogdon, Aaron Holiday and Edmond Sumner as questionable. Domantas Sabonis is questionable, too, but he'll play. Charlotte will be without second-leading scorer Gordon Hayward.
Just a reminder how the No. 9 vs. 10 game works: Tuesday's winner will travel to the loser of the night's second game, No. 8 Washington at No. 7 Boston, on Thursday for the eighth and final seed in the East and a first-round date with top-seeded Philadelphia. It's not out of the question that Tuesday is the last game as Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren as there have been reports he could be fired after just one season. There reportedly has been some tension in the locker room over Bjorkgren's style of coaching and communication.
It's not a surprise that Turner (1.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg) will miss the game for Indiana as the Defensive Player of the Year candidate hasn't played since mid-April with turf toe and still remains without a timetable to return. Turner led the NBA in blocks per game at 3.5 per game, although he didn't play enough games to qualify for the blocks title. No real surprise on Lamb (10.1 ppg), either, as he also hasn't played since mid-April with a sore knee.
Brogdon is being called a game-time decision with a hamstring issue. That would be a major loss as he's averaging 21.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game but hasn't played since late April. LeVert was shockingly ruled out early Tuesday in the COVID protocols, meaning he won't play for a while even if the team advances. LeVert averaged 23.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists over the final month in stepping up for Brogdon.
Aaron Holiday (7.2 ppg) is dealing with a toe injury and Sumner (7.5 ppg) a knee problem. Sabonis had an incredible season in averaging 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists. He may not be 100 percent with a bruised left quad, but he played Sunday and there's no way he'll miss Tuesday. Indiana was an ugly 13-23 at home this season, ending a 31-season streak with a winning record at home was tied for the third-longest in NBA history.
Charlotte closed the season on a five-game skid and lost Hayward to a sprained foot during a 114-97 victory at Indiana on April 2 – the last time these teams played. He has still yet to be cleared for full-contact work. Hayward was averaging 19.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Reserve guard Cody Martin is out with a left ankle sprain.
Charlotte is the only Eastern Conference team the Pacers have never faced in the postseason. The Hornets won two of three meetings during the regular season. The Hornets were 1-6 against the spread in their final seven road games.
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