The first game of the inaugural NBA play-in tournament will see the Hornets and Pacers play in Indiana for the chance to stay alive for the 8-seed in the East. The winner of the game, which will be at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT, will advance to play the loser of the Wizards-Celtics game on Thursday to get into a playoff series against the 76ers.
The Pacers are slight three-point home favorites, but that very well may change as they will be even more shorthanded than expected against Charlotte. While the Pacers were expecting to be without Myles Turner (and TJ Warren who has barely played this year), they will apparently also have to find a way to beat the Hornets without Caris LeVert, who The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports is in the league’s health and safety protocols.
LeVert will miss tonight’s game, and if Indiana advances in Play-In Tournament, he is expected to be sidelined for multiple games, sources said. Significant loss to Indiana’s lineup. https://t.co/B6RJaz1ylH
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 18, 2021
As Shams notes, should the Pacers advance to the next game in the play-in, they would need to win that one without LeVert and, should they somehow pull off that feat, they would likely be without LeVert for the first two games at least of a playoff series with Philadelphia. That’s a major loss, as LeVert is averaging just over 20 points per game since joining the Pacers, accounting for a big chunk 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.