The Hornets and Pacers will meet in Indiana for the first game of the inaugural NBA play-in tournament, with the aim of keeping the 8-seed in the East alive. The winner of the game, which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT, will face the loser of the Wizards-Celtics game on Thursday for a chance to face the 76ers in a playoff series.
The Pacers are three-point home favorites, but that might change because they will be much more shorthanded against Charlotte than predicted. Although the Pacers were planning to be without Myles Turner (and TJ Warren, who hasn’t played much this season), they’ll also have to defeat the Hornets without Caris LeVert, who is reportedly in the league’s health and safety guidelines, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
As Shams points out, if the Pacers advance to the next round of the play-in, they’ll have to win the game without LeVert, and if they do, they’ll be without him for at least the first two games of a playoff series with Philadelphia. Since joining the Pacers, LeVert has averaged just over 20 points per game, accounting for a significant portion of Indiana’s offensive attack. Without him, even more of the scoring load will shift to Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon, with Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday likely being called on to try and pick up some of the slack against the Hornets.