Indiana Pacers vs. Washington Wizards Pick & Prediction JANUARY 10th 2024

The Indiana Pacers will look to overcome the absence of All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton on Wednesday when they host the Washington Wizards in Indianapolis.

Haliburton injured his left hamstring while driving to the basket during the second quarter of Indiana’s 133-131 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday.

The Pacers announced Tuesday that an MRI exam determined that Haliburton had a left hamstring strain. The club didn’t offer a timetable for his return.

The breakout star is averaging a team-high 23.6 points per game and league-best 12.5 assists through Monday’s games.

The Pacers didn’t fare well in the immediate aftermath of Haliburton’s left knee injury on Jan. 11 of last season. He sat out the team’s ensuing 10 games, with Indiana losing nine of them.

“I think we have a better mentality moving forward than we did last year without him,” forward Aaron Nesmith said, per the Indianapolis Star. “We have a really good next-man-up mentality especially because we’re just so deep. Everyone on this team works hard, deserve to play, and they always showcase what they’re able to do when they get the chance. I think we’ll be alright.” ` Coach Rick Carlisle praised the Pacers’ perseverance and determination on Monday after they picked up their seventh win in the last eight games.

“Really amazing effort from our team,” Carlisle said. “A lot of emotions in this game, for a lot of reasons: you’re playing the best team in basketball and Tyrese’s injury situation.”

Bennedict Mathurin sank a pair of free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining to cap a 26-point performance on Monday. He made 8 of 15 shots from the floor — including 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

Nesmith scored 17 points, Myles Turner had 16 and Buddy Hield contributed 15 off the bench on Monday.

Bruce Brown sank a career-high six 3-pointers and finished with 24 points in Indiana’s season-opening 143-120 rout of the visiting Wizards on Oct. 25. He had just four points on 2-of-7 shooting from the floor in the Pacers’ 137-123 setback in Washington on Dec. 15.

The Wizards have lost 10 of their last 12 games since then, including their fifth straight on Monday in a 136-128 setback to Oklahoma City. Jordan Poole scored 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter versus the Thunder.

“I just felt more involved,” Poole said, per the Washington Post. “I was able to be on ball a little more, bring it up, kind of initiate some offense to get the defense off me. … Just opened up the floor a little bit for my teammates, but through that kind of being able to be aggressive.”

Kyle Kuzma, who boasts a team-best 22.6 points per game, collected 22 points, a season-high 15 rebounds and five assists on Monday. That performance marked Kuzma’s second career game with at least 20 points, 15 boards and five assists. His first such game (26 points, 15 rebounds, six assists) came against Indiana on Feb. 16, 2022.

Kuzma scored 25 points in the first meeting this season with the Pacers on Oct. 25 and had 30 in last month’s encounter.

–Field Level Media

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