Category Archives: Column

The Indiana Pacers chemistry is natural, but not accidental

Kevin Pritchard seems to have created something special in Indiana.

Perhaps not in terms of an abundance of talent on this Pacers team, but in a creation of chemistry that most teams can only dream about having after a few years growing together with little roster turnover. But this team brought in nine new players in a single off-season.

“This is the best locker room that I’ve ever been in,” said Myles Turner.  Continue reading The Indiana Pacers chemistry is natural, but not accidental

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A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #6: Even a Loss Brings Hope

For A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity, I will bring a short column that highlights something about this team that gives me hope. The season is long. We need to focus on the positives whether in the midst of a winning streak or the depths of a rough patch. This week, I wanted to think about losing.

First, let me add a note right away: this short column will not be a paean to the (dubious) benefits of tanking that you might find in a certain article not to be named regarding the Pacers.  Continue reading A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #6: Even a Loss Brings Hope

The Indiana Pacers have never been more fun

The Indiana Pacers (12-9) have had better teams in the past but they’ve never been more fun than this.

Just watch this video. Feel the joy. Buy a home or rent an Airbnb in this lovely neighborhood.

Indiana’s never had more enjoyment from watching the Pacers than with this underdog group of running, gunning, have fun-ing bunch. Almost every game at the Fieldhouse turns into a house party.

The fun all starts with Lance Stephenson, who has averaged over 17 points per game in his last three and has added five assists and eight rebounds in consecutive games.

Stephenson is the Pacers prodigal son, who languishes outside of Indiana when he’s not wearing the blue and gold and thrives in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. He dances and inspires dances. He prances. He plays air guitar. He high-fives the crowd. He head-butts stanchions.

“Coach is doing a good job of letting me play through mistakes,” Stephenson said after tonight’s party of a win against the Orlando Magic. “He lets me be me.”

The Pacers fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Everything that Lance does elicits a louder reaction than if someone else would have done the same. So when he does something special as has been the case often lately, it feels like the roof may collapse.

But the Pacers are this fun for more than just Lance reasons.

Victor Oladipo made his first 11 shots tonight, which included maybe five heat checks that all went in. It got to the point where even he didn’t know what was happening after banking in a 3-pointer.

Domantas Sabonis continues to be gift from the basketball gods, (mostly the god of European big men Arydvas Sabonis). He scored 19 points while taking just seven shots, added eight rebounds and five assists. That crazy play by Lance wouldn’t have been possible without his expert cut at just the right time.

“I don’t know. It just happens,” Domas said of his on-court play with Lance, “… He understands me. It’s just chemistry.”

The Pacers other stud young big man, Myles Turner, was no slouch tonight either as he scored 18 points in the first three quarters, being unleashed from long range with five attempts and three makes. He nearly had four made 3-pointers but his toes were on the line on one attempt.

“The thing I love about this team is that we never stop competing,” Turner said.

Every game is non-stop effort from the Pacers. They may lose some games, but as Turner said, they’re always competing. Whether they’re down 22 in the third quarter or having just lost a lead at the start of the fourth quarter like tonight.

The Magic were up one briefly in the fourth quarter. Then the Pacers went on a 23-5 run.

The Pacers aren’t just a one-man show these days. Anybody is capable of a huge night to lift the team, Bojan Bogdanovic continues to show a more all-around offensive game than many expected, Thad Young is the glue guy, Darren Collison is capable of occasional 30-point nights. They play together and as a unit. They care about each other off the court.

These Pacers are modern. These Pacers are always looking to run. These Pacers love to play together. The Pacers have never been more fun.

A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #5: Chemistry is Cooking

For A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity, I will bring a short column that highlights something about this team that gives me hope. The season is long. We need to focus on the positives whether in the midst of a winning streak or the depths of a rough patch. And in this stretch of big (like, HUGE) wins, I thought it best to focus on something that is all too rare in the NBA: noticeable chemistry.

Continue reading A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #5: Chemistry is Cooking

A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #4: The Value of Bojan Threepointovic

For A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity, I will bring a short column that highlights something about this team that gives me hope. The season is long. We need to focus on the positives whether in the midst of a winning streak or the depths of a rough patch. And in this stretch of lost big leads, we need some positivity.  Continue reading A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #4: The Value of Bojan Threepointovic

For Myles Turner to grow, more opportunities are necessary

Should Myles Turner be considered in the NBA’s group of future frontcourt stars along with Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid?

If the Indiana Pacers want to find out, they’re going to need to give Myles Turner the ball. With a lot more consistency and frequency.  Continue reading For Myles Turner to grow, more opportunities are necessary

A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #3: Captain Thaddeus

For A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity, I will bring a short column that highlights something about this team that gives me hope. The season is long. We need to focus on the positives whether in the midst of a winning streak or the depths of a rough patch. And in this stretch of lost big leads, we need some positivity.  Continue reading A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity #3: Captain Thaddeus

A Weekly Dose of Pacers Postivity #2: Darren Collison is new and improved

For A Weekly Dose of Pacers Positivity, I will bring a short column that highlights something about this team that gives me hope. The season is long. We need to focus on the positives whether in the midst of a winning streak or the depths of a rough patch. This week’s topic: Darren Collison.  Continue reading A Weekly Dose of Pacers Postivity #2: Darren Collison is new and improved

Tales from the Block: Oladipo lays claim to his city

Tales from the Block: iPacers contributor Ross Blauvelt has half-season tickets in Myles Turner’s fan section: Turner’s Block. In this column, he’ll bring us a look at the games from inside the craziest, loudest bunch of fans in Banker’s Life Fieldhous along with the Born Ready Crew. Today, iPacers Editor-in-Chief Derek Kramer is filling in for Ross.

This is not my first fan-zone experience as I was in the original G2Zone that was only five games and a two-time buy-in to Area 55 during those conference finals years, so I knew what I was getting myself into.  Continue reading Tales from the Block: Oladipo lays claim to his city

I don’t miss you, Paul George

I avoided watching Paul George and the Thunder play until last night when he played his first game against the team that drafted him in the Indiana Pacers.

Much like my strategy would be after a break up with a significant other, I just wanted to avoid it. Forget about it. Out of sight. Out of mind. At one point in the off-season, I nearly muted the words Paul George on Twitter.

I was expecting a mix of emotions watching George play against the Pacers. Some painful nostalgia of the good times, longing for the good old days of hot shooting, elite defense, dope dunks and deep playoff runs.  Continue reading I don’t miss you, Paul George

Tales from the Block: Fan Zone Auditions

Quick, you’ve got 20 seconds to impress Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson to convince them you deserve Pacers season tickets. What do you do? How about trying your hand at poetry? Singing and dancing? Maybe paint your chest, use a dog as a prop, make a fool or yourself or just plain GET LOUD?!

That’s what most fans did this past Monday night when the final round of tryouts for the Turner’s Block charged by Dew and Born Ready Crew Fan Zones for this upcoming Pacers season took place at the Madame Walker Theater in downtown Indianapolis. MC’d by Pat Boylan of Sideline Guys and the Pacers Radio broadcast complete with his Bob Barker microphone.

Like in years past, the Pacers will have two fan zones again this season to follow in the tradition started by Roy Hibbert with Area 55 and continued with the G2 Zone, and Rodney Stuckey’s Crew.

This season your humble iPacers writer and TheCorner3Show host decided to try his hand at a fan zone. The last time I tried out was in 2012 for the G2 zone (Paul George and George Hill). But that was while I still lived in Fort Wayne.

My friend and I made it to the final round (everyone auditioned as a pair that year). We didn’t have a skit or an act, just a speech as to why we deserved the tickets.

We dressed in suits with sunglasses, Men in Black style, with Mad Ants jerseys underneath. Oh ya, we looked cool. While we were willing to make that dedication to drive down for each home game from Fort Wayne… they didn’t see it that way. Sadly, we were not awarded the tickets. Understandable but disappointing.

The team behind us played mock dodgeball. Literally smashing each other in the face and won ‘Golden Tickets’ (automatic win) in the process. Just goes to show what kind of energy level, commitment, and random creativity you have to bring to win these competitions.

Since then, Paul and George have been traded away, an Eastern Conference Contender fell apart, I moved down to Indianapolis, started writing for iPacers, and along with Alex and Zach, began TheCorner3Show (YouTube/Podcast). This year was the perfect year to try to win season tickets again!

The signup process was pretty straightforward. Fill out your basic info (name, address, etc). Submit a picture/video showing why you deserve tickets and link to a social media site of your own that backs that up. That’s all. Then wait for about a week to see if you’ve made the final round of tryouts. Which I did. CELEBRATE!

Even though I’d never been to the Madame Walker Theater before, it wasn’t hard to tell that I was in the right place by the amount of Blue/Gold walking around outside.

Once inside you registered by last name and selected which Fan Zone you would want to be a part of and took a seat to wait for Myles and Lance to enter. The entries literally filled a whole wing of the lower auditorium floor.

The mix of fans at the tryouts was about 80% previous fan zone members. Most having already done this before and successfully be selected. Gulp.

One fan next to me asked if I have tried out before. He felt confident that even though it seemed like there were 150+ people there to tryout, he had a good shot at getting into a zone since there were two fan zones.

Another fan said he had a great chance as last year him and his buddies painted their chests for Lance Stephenson, sent him the pic and Lance retweeted them. They actually won automatic tickets to Lance’s Zone right when they got up.

Lance Stephenson Entrance :

Best fans ever Myles and Lance TurnUp day

A post shared by Lance Stephenson (@stephensonlance) on

When the players entered, the fans erupted. Chants already starting. A preview of how it will be this season in the Block/Crew. Each player said a little something to us all, how Indiana has the best fans in the league!

I was about the 10th to have my chance on stage after I heard they were going to go by row, I moved up as close as I could. I was definitely nervous in front of two ‘star’ players and their families, plus the entire audience, but for a chance at free tickets and to support my team, it was worth it!

So what did I do? A simple speech. I know, BORING. But I was wearing full Myles Turner Hickory Gear. Shorts, tall socks and Myles shirt complete with headband. I talked about how I had tried out before but have since moved down to Indianapolis and started writing for iPacers and TheCorner3Show. If I was selected, fans of each would get an inside look at what being part of a Fan Zone is like. Plus I promised to loose my voice after each game. 20 seconds really is a long time once you’re in it.

The other two members of TheCorner3Show were there to cheer me on. I felt like I saw Myles nodding while I talked. Either he’s fan of this site or listens to the Pod. Here’s hoping.

I wasn’t able to stay through all the tryouts but of the ones before me here were some of my favorites (hopefully you got to see them on the Pacers Instagram story). One fan was a Pacer ‘nerd’. Another dressed in 10+ Pacers Jerseys AT THE SAME TIME! Another had a partner (they both had made the final round) and ‘dunked’ on Myles Turner. The opening Poem was pretty creative too by Andrew Adams. There were many many elaborate costumes behind me and I wished I had time to see them all.

And I’ve got to say, no matter how good or bad each act was, Pacers fans gave each audition tons of encouragement and applause. Classy bunch.

So now it’s a waiting game…. if you didn’t win automatic tickets that night, you had to wait until Friday to find out if you made it. Four days of nervous wait time, just hoping to get that email…

Friday morning another email went out… keep waiting and keep your eye on social media. Great. More waiting. Just tell me already!

Then around 3pm Friday my phone blew up with texts.

I HAD MADE Turners Block!!!!! So excited. The first game they want us to attend is the 1st Preseason game October 10th to go over how the season will go.

Thanks for following along on my adventure. Please share in the comments or on Twitter your own story and if you tried out too.

Hopefully we have a lot of Crew and Block members reading iPacers. I hope to put up more stories from Turner’s block this season and give you the reader, a chance to feel like you’re there too. Go Pacers!

 

Myles Turner says he’s ready to be the face of the Pacers franchise

Myles Turner’s maturity level is well above the typical 21-year-old kid, and soon he’ll have a lot more responsibility to the Indiana Pacers organization than most players his age will ever have to their own.

The Pacers couldn’t ask for someone better to take it all on.

“Without a doubt,” Turner told Alex Kennedy on his HoopsHype podcast when asked if he’s ready to become the face of the Pacers franchise. “… I feel like I’m ready to take on more. I want to become a leader. Why not start early?”

With Paul George essentially giving his 2-weeks notice when he had his agent tell the team he doesn’t plan on signing an extension and is off to Los Angeles in 2018, the Pacers have to feel fortunate to be able to immediately start building their franchise around a player with the potential and professionalism of Turner.

“Be a leader,” Turner told Kennedy when asked about his individual goals for next season.

Turner, who averaged 14.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, seems acutely aware of the George-sized void that will soon leave the organization and need filled.

When asked about his reaction to Larry Bird saying he could potentially become the greatest Pacers player ever during last season, Turner said, “After the initial shock, you start to believe it. When you have someone who is so confident in you and an organization that is so confident in your abilities and your future, it only motivates you to keep working and work harder and get better everyday.”

As for what Turner wants to improve on with all of his hard work, he said “all aspects of his game,” but specifically mentioned facing up in the mid post, improving his 3-point shot further, and defending the pick and roll. In other interviews this offseason, he’s said his focus is getting stronger and working on his post game.

Turner’s reaction to the news that George would be leaving: “Alright, well, what’s next? We have to start rebuilding and look at what we can do for our future. That was my initial thought.”

Turner’s love for the organization and for the state of Indiana, where he’s embraced the community since his rookie season with his WARM initiative, were evident in the podcast as he talked for a couple of minutes about his favorite things in Indiana including the food, the summer weather and how great of a sports town Indianapolis is. He had very high praise for the Simons, is excited for the Pacers new practice facility and called the Pacers a “Grade-A organization.”

In these dark times when the star player of the team decides he no longer wants to be a part of the organization that drafted him, Pacers fans are eager to start the era of the future face of the Pacers, someone that wants to be in Indiana: Myles Turner.

For one playoff game, the Pacers were last year’s Warriors, 3-1 lead included

The Indiana Pacers had the full 2016 NBA Finals experience from the Golden State Warriors perspective in just one playoff game against LeBron James.

They were the Falcons in the Super Bowl up 28-3. They were the Cleveland Indians up 3-1. In a year of historic collapses, the Pacers had their own.

There was no championship at stake for the Pacers tonight, but that doesn’t mean this game lacked importance with their season and their future still on the line. Every playoff loss could potentially make Paul George more likely to leave which would change the outlook of the franchise for years. 

The Pacers looked like Golden State in the first half scoring a team record for the playoffs with 74 first half points and holding the Cavaliers to only 49. A 25-point lead at halftime that was as high as 26 points that would ultimately be their equivalent to Warriors’ 3-1 lead.

There was so much dope stuff happening for the Pacers in that first half that it was hard to keep track of it all:

  • Myles Turner had perhaps the greatest play of his career when he dunked all over Tristan Thompson at the rim. The slow-motion video should be on display in a museum. Turner looked a man on a mission to rebound from his poor first two games of the series. Blocking shots, picking off passes and looking aggressive offensively.
  • The Pacers shot 57% in the first half while holding the Cavaliers to just 37%.
  • Paul George had 23 points in the first half and nearly outscored the Cavaliers in the second quarter by himself (21 for George, 22 for Cleveland)
  • Lance Stephenson was roaring on every defensive rebound and pushing the pace like a runaway freight train, hitting threes, setting up others for quick buckets and making the crowd about as amped as they’ve ever been.
  • Kevin Seraphin played like a man possessed. Scoring on LeBron, blocking Kyrie, posterizing Kyle Korver after an offensive rebound, scoring a nifty layup on a sweet assist.
  • Thaddeus Young beat the Cavaliers to the ball too many times to count and finished nearly every shot he took.
  • Larry Bird was water sippin’ that Kinetico finest. No looks of disappointment. No frustrating head shakes or curse words from the legend. Life was good.

Then we all know what happened next. The Pacers lost their 3-1 lead and saw LeBron in all his glory as he finished with a 41/12/13 line. The Pacers suddenly became cautious, tentative and quit pushing the pace and doing what made them successful in the first half. It’s like the came out in the second half and immediately wanted to milk the clock.

“We came out relaxed,” said George of the third quarter. “We got away from what the first half was about.”

As the Cavaliers got closer and closer, every Pacers primary ball handler besides Paul George, who finished with 36 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists, seemed timid with the ball. Stephenson passed up open threes, Teague was slow to get the offense moving throughout the half. Thaddeus Young kept fighting for rebounds, but the Pacers simply couldn’t finish. The Pacers went from shooting 57% in the first half to only 40% overall for the game.

Cleveland meanwhile woke up offensively and hit what seemed like every open three they took. LeBron did LeBron things. Paul George grew frustrated with the refs and Nate McMillan got a rare technical foul. Perhaps, the Pacers agruments with the refs was the Draymond suspension.

The Pacers pushed the lead back to 20 points with four minutes left in the third quarter, but were outscored 52-27 from that point forward. The Pacers scored only 40 points in the second half after scoring 37 points in each of the first two quarters.

Somehow Monta Ellis played about six minutes in the fourth quarter in the game that he was finally benched from the starting lineup, because McMillan decided starting the game didn’t work with Monta, so let’s try finishing it with him? Little about it made any sense, especially as many of the minutes were shared with Jeff Teague, a pairing that had been outscored by 10.9 points per 100 possessions in the first two games. It would be shocking if McMillan keeps his job after the series at this point.

The Cavaliers found a lineup that the Pacers had no answer for on defense in the fourth quarter as they forced Myles Turner to stay on Channing Frye on the perimeter as LeBron took easy strolls into the lane for layups after beating his man with no one able to protect the rim and no one able to stay in front of him. LeBron sucked all life out of the arena that had so recently been as alive as it had ever been.