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NBA Preview: Memphis Grizzlies (18-27) at Indiana Pacers (26-20)

The Indiana Pacers once again will find themselves taking the court without star guard Tyrese Haliburton when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Haliburton will miss his fifth straight game and ninth in his team’s past 10 due to management of his strained left hamstring. The All-Star sustained the injury in the Pacers’ 133-131 victory over the Boston Celtics on Jan. 8.

Following an initial five-game absence, Haliburton returned to collect 21 points and 17 assists in 35 minutes in Indiana’s 118-115 setback to the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 19.

The Pacers have posted a 5-4 record with Haliburton in street clothes.

With Haliburton on the shelf, others have had to step up, including forward Pascal Siakam.

Siakam has played just five games with Indiana since being acquired from the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 17, but he has quickly settled in with his new team.

As an encore to Thursday night’s triple-double (26 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) against the Philadelphia 76ers, Siakam poured in a team-high 31 points and snatched seven boards in a 133-131 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

Obi Toppin supplied 23 points and 11 rebounds off the bench and starters Aaron Nesmith and Andrew Nembhard chipped in 22 points apiece for the Pacers, who prevailed despite Phoenix’s Devin Booker torching them for 62 points.

Playing short-handed is something Memphis knows all too well, as it is without Ja Morant (shoulder), Marcus Smart (finger) and Desmond Bane (ankle).

Morant is out for the season, while Smart and Bane will be sidelined until late February at the earliest.

Jaren Jackson Jr. has taken over the offense, averaging 25.6 points over his past 10 games while attempting 20.6 shots per contest. He most recently netted 30 points on 13-of-30 shooting in Friday’s 107-106 win against the visiting Orlando Magic.

Jackson is no stranger to the spotlight, though, as he has started 301 of 310 games in his career with the Grizzlies.

It’s a different story with Vince Williams Jr.

Williams, a second-year pro, came off the bench in 28 of his first 29 NBA games. Since then, he has played with the top unit in 16 of his past 21 appearances.

In the past seven games, Williams has averaged 17.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals.

Sunday marks the second and final meeting between the teams this season. Memphis beat the Pacers 116-103 on Dec. 21 and has won five straight in the all-time series.

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