Category Archives: news

Pacers Myles Turner gives the Philly crowd the finger

After picking up his third foul during the second quarter while guarding Joel Embiid, Myles Turner gave the middle finger to the Philadelphia crowd.

Ponytail Myles has no chill. He’ll be getting a fine for that one tomorrow morning.

Hopefully the Indiana Pacers can find a way to make the Sixers be the ones who are getting frustrated as Embiid has forced both Turner and Sabonis into foul trouble while dominating with 28 points and 14 rebounds in the first half alone.

Update: Pacers dominated the second half (64-42) to beat the Sixers and Myles Turner apologizes on Twitter after the game

Advertisements

Pacers proving to have Oladipo’s back as he returns

In Victor Oladipo’s absence, many of the Indiana Pacers stepped up in a combined effort to fill the void of their superstar and did so as well as anyone could have hoped. Now, those same players are allowing Oladipo to ease back into playing like his old self as he returns to action from his injury.

“I can’t get it all back in one possession. I haven’t played in three weeks,” said Oladipo after last night’s statement win against the Bucks. “You try to come out here and do too much, you kind of hurt your team a little bit and you hurt yourself. … My team has been playing well. Like I said, I learned a lot sitting out and watching them. I trust my teammates and I trust they’ll make the right play.”

The Pacers performed admirably without Oladipo as they went 8-4 including his quick exit against the Hawks. You can go through the entire rotation and find instances of each player stepping up their game but perhaps none more than Bojan Bogdanovic and Myles Turner.

You have to wonder if Oladipo would have tried to come back much sooner if the team wasn’t playing well. The team’s depth came through.

Bogdanovic averaged 19.6 points during the 12-game stretch and leads the league in 3-point percentage on the season, becoming the Pacers go-to scoring threat. Turner was dominant on the defensive end, playing the best on that end of the floor in his career, while also becoming more consistently involved on the offensive end averaging 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in that same timeframe. Continue reading Pacers proving to have Oladipo’s back as he returns

Aaron Holiday back to waiting for his turn as Oladipo returns

Aaron Holiday performed admirably for a rookie getting his first real minutes for the Indiana Pacers, but now that Victor Oladipo has returned to the starting lineup Holiday goes back to waiting for his turn.

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said he spoke with Holiday about the trickle down effect that Oladipo’s return to the starting lineup will have on his minutes.

“He did his job, now he goes back to his role,” McMillan said. “Victor’s back and we go back to our rotation.”

Even with Oladipo on a minutes restriction, Holiday played zero minutes in the win against the Milwaukee Bucks last night. Continue reading Aaron Holiday back to waiting for his turn as Oladipo returns

With Oladipo back, Pacers looking to be a top team in the East

INDIANAPOLIS–“I tell you one thing, the East is in trouble now, boy.”

Myles Turner jumped in during Victor Oladipo’s post-game interview on Fox Sports Indiana and made the verbal statement that the Indiana Pacers had made during the game as they beat the Milwaukee Bucks by a final score of 113-97 for their fifth straight win.

It’s just one game but the Pacers are now only a half game back of the Bucks for second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 18-10 with essentially 12 of those games coming without their star in Oladipo. It was the polar opposite of the Bucks destruction of the Pacers at the beginning of the season.

“It is a big game, but we still see these guys a couple more times,” said Darren Collison. “We’re trying to put it to the whole Eastern Conference. We want to be one of the best teams in the conference.”

Oladipo returned but his teammates continued to carry the load as they had done while he was out. Oladipo took just two shots in the first half, clearly easing his way back into things after an extended absence.

“I can’t get it all back in one possession,” said Oladipo, who finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in 29 minutes. “I haven’t played in three weeks. You try to come out here and do too much, you kind of hurt your team a little bit … I trust my teammates and I trust they’ll make the right play. Guys stepped up and played huge tonight. Myles, Thad, DC hit big shots down the stretch. I’m just glad to be back to help and continue to keep getting better.”

Thad Young is typically the guy whose box-score numbers don’t show his entire impact but tonight they did him justice as he led the team in scoring and did a masterful job on Giannis Antetokounmpo all game.

“I mean I really don’t care,” Young laughed at whether this was his best game as a Pacer. “I’ve never been one to care about stats or anything like that. If I score 2 points and we get the win, I’m happy.”

Young had a season-high 25 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, five steals and a block while holding Antetokounmpo to a season-low 12 points and just seven shot attempts. Young was +28 while he was on the floor and the Bucks star was -31. Young looked like the one that was a possible MVP candidate on this night.

“Great team defense,” Young said on slowing down Antetokounmpo. “My teammates were in gaps and every time I made him spin, they jumped in front of him. Guys were just making him pass the ball out. … He’s a tough guy to guard, especially in transition .. he has me tired right now.”

Teammates all had high praise for their captain’s defensive performance:

“That’s something you’re going to get all year long,” said Collison. “It’s not easy guarding Giannis. Giannis is playing at an MVP-type level and to play defense against him is pretty amazing. You have to give credit to Thaddeus.”

Myles Turner agreed: “Thad was great. He was able to step up with defense on Giannis and we had his back. And he made all the hustle plays. He had all the rebounds, hit some big shots. He had a great overall performance tonight.”

Turner, rocking the ponytail for the second-consecutive game, continued his superb play of late as he scored 23 points on a career-high 22 shot attempts with seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

“It’s the hair … no, I’m just playing,” Oladipo said of Turner’s play of late. “It’s been good. We need him to play at that high level. I felt like he was open a lot today as far back as the big was in the pick-and-roll. Throwing it back to him was key for us and it was big time that he was hitting his shots. It opened up the floor for everybody else. A big game from him tonight.”

Turner took a career-high 22 shots including six 3-point attempts. His last three ended a Bucks run that cut the lead briefly to single digits in the fourth and pushed the Pacers lead back to 11.

“Everybody looked at me and said, ‘Man, you gotta shoot when you’re that wide open,'” Turner on his career-high attempts. I didn’t realize I put up 22 shots … My team encouraged me to shoot those shots. It wasn’t like I was out there jacking. I took what was given to me.”

Ponytail Myles seems to ooze with confidence as his last two games with the ponytail are his only 20-point scoring games of the season to this point.

“That’s what everybody is gassing up, saying it’s the ponytail,” Turner said, “so I guess I gotta keep it.”

The Pacers got off to a 22-9 start in the game’s first six minutes and while the Bucks repeatedly cut into the Pacers lead with mini-runs, they never allowed them to get too close before someone on the Pacers shifted momentum back to their side.

“Indiana’s aggressiveness and execution on both ends of the court. I give them a ton of credit,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said, “they were very good tonight. We couldn’t match it, we kept hanging around a little bit, felt like maybe we could make a run, but they would hit a big shot.”

The Pacers dominated the rebounding battle in this one by a margin of 55-43 and held the Bucks to just 25.6% from the 3-point line.

Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 points. Doug McDermott hit all five of his attempts from the floor for 12 points and Domas Sabonis quietly had another double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Indiana has the 3rd-best defensive rating in the league at this point and the 7th-best overall net rating all while missing a huge chunk of games from their best player. The Pacers have another chance to show they belong with the best teams at the top of the Eastern Conference on Friday as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers.

Finding positives from Victor Oladipo’s continued absence

Obviously, Victor Oladipo being injured is not a good thing for the Indiana Pacers. The team has announced he will be out “indefinitely” with the knee soreness that has plagued him for much of the season and kept him out of the team’s last six games.

That being said, with injury comes opportunity. It’s a situation that the Pacers would rather not be in, but there are positives that can come from it.

Fortunately, it doesn’t seem as bad as the initial announcement made it seem as indefinitely can mean just about anything from a few games to months but is a clear downgrade from “day-to-day.” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski offered more information than the Pacers official press release initially did and offered a more encouraging outlook.

And with Scott Agness’s report, it seems like the Pacers are just tired of answering questions about Oladipo’s injury every day and want him to take his time to return.

Hopefully, this ends up being similar to last season where once he came back, he was good to go for the remainder of the year.

Here are some possible positives that could come from the extended absence of the Pacers best player: Continue reading Finding positives from Victor Oladipo’s continued absence

Is Darren Collison doomed to repeat his own Pacers history?

Last season was the best of Darren Collison’s career. This year, however, has started off as the worst for the Indiana Pacers starting point guard.

“I want to be there for my teammates,” said Collison, who is averaging career lows in points (8.9), 3-point percentage (32%) and free-throw percentage (69%), after Thursday’s loss to the Spurs, “and right now I haven’t been there for them. Just a tough stretch. I just don’t feel a rhythm at all. Last year, I had more of a feel for the game.”

Collison, who led the entire league in 3-point percentage in 2017-18, has scored five or fewer points in six of the team’s first 19 games including two scoreless outings in the team’s first 12 games. He’s only scored in double figures eight times thus far.

“Nate spoke to me about being more aggressive and getting back to myself. I’ve just been overthinking the first 10, 11 games or so,” Collison said after bouncing back from his second scoreless outing according to the Indy Star. “Sometimes you try to do the right thing and you get away from your game.”

Meanwhile, the other two point guards on the roster have played well to start the season. Cory Joseph has quietly been one of the team’s most important players, and first-round pick Aaron Holiday is making the most of his first opportunity for real playing time with Victor Oladipo out with knee soreness.

It’s not hard to make a case that Joseph should be the starter over Collison right now. Continue reading Is Darren Collison doomed to repeat his own Pacers history?

Pacers lost a strong prospect in Ben Moore

Ben Moore recently agreed to a 2-way deal with the San Antonio Spurs after being waived by the Indiana Pacers and briefly playing for their G-League affiliate the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Moore immediately showed that he was too good for the G-League in his four games in Fort Wayne this season as he averaged 20 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in just 25 minutes per game while shooting 73.2% from the field. The Spurs quickly pounced on the opportunity to get the forward.

Continue reading Pacers lost a strong prospect in Ben Moore

Pacers rookie Aaron Holiday makes his first opportunity count

INDIANAPOLIS–Aaron Holiday hadn’t played meaningful minutes all season. The Indiana Pacers first-round draft pick hadn’t played at all in the team’s last nine consecutive games.

Tonight, Holiday came in with 3:14 left in the third quarter and never came back out, electrifying the crowd with pull-up 3-pointers, chasedown block attempts in transition, and a nifty behind-the-back assist.

“We don’t win this game if he doesn’t come in and play the way he did on both ends of the floor,” Nate McMillan said of the rookie point guard.

Holiday, who finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in his 15 minutes, pulled up for a 3-pointer in transition upon almost immediately after entering the game. The shot gave the Pacers the lead at 68-67 and they never gave it back. The Pacers went on to win 97-89 over the Atlanta Hawks.

With Victor Oladipo exiting the game with knee soreness early in the first quarter, the Pacers were in need of a next man up as the game swayed with large runs from both teams as the Pacers went from down 10 to up 3 to down 12 before Holiday’s shot gave them the lead for good in the third quarter.

“Anytime we lose a guy like Victor, we have to figure out a way to supplement his scoring and his defensive ability,” said Thad Young, who added 11 points and 7 rebounds, “and we figured it out. We got a lot of guys that can step up on any given night and tonight … Aaron was the true player of the game.”

Young is impressed with the team’s rookie and he earned the praise of many of the veterans in the locker room after the game.

“I’ve always said that he’s better than his draft number,” Young said of Holiday. “Definitely could have been one of the guys in the top 10 especially when you put him one-on-one against anybody in his draft class. He’s done a good job waiting for his turn, staying poised and the sky’s the limit for him.”

Darren Collison, who went 4 for 5 in the second half with 12 points after missing all five of his first-half attempts, was glad to see Holiday be rewarded after seeing him working hard throughout training camp and during the season.

“He’s stayed working, the first one in the gym,” Collison said of his fellow UCLA point guard. “It just makes you happy for somebody that has that success like he did tonight. He’s a real good player. He’s going to be a good player in this league … It’s only going to be sky’s the limit because that kid can play. Once he gets his opportunity on a consistent basis, it’s going to be good things to come.”

Both Collison and Young noted his sky-high potential. Cory Joseph said he thinks Holiday will have a long career, but Holiday knows he still has a lot to prove and isn’t getting too high off of just a single game.

“I don’t think I earned anything yet,” Holiday said when asked if he thought this game would lead to more playing time. “It’s just one game. I’ll just keeping working, see what happens.”

While Holiday would clearly like to be playing more often, he understands it’s a waiting game for him at the start of his career.

“It’s very tough,” Holiday said. “Being a competitor like I am, I wanted to get out there, but obviously, in the league you have to wait for your time and I’m just happy it came today.”

The team took a final turning point after the Hawks had scored 17 straight points from the end of the second quarter through the beginning of the third. After a quick timeout, Thad Young took it upon himself to call out the team for the lack of effort.

“The players gathered, and they knew that we needed this game,” said McMillan. “… Sometimes those guys have to police themselves, and that was a moment when they knew that. There’s only so much that I can say … I can call a timeout, but you know you need to get it together and that was a moment where they got together and talked about playing better basketball and we ended up winning that game.”

Bojan Bogdanovic led the team in scoring with 22 points. Myles Turner had his first double double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Domas Sabonis had a nice all-around game with 9 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists.

The Pacers were 0-5 last season without Oladipo in the lineup and while technically he played tonight this was a good sign for the team’s depth and ability to find ways to win without their All Star player at all or without him at his best for the second straight night.

The Pacers won last night’s game against the Miami Heat with Oladipo having one of his worst nights as a Pacer with just 8 points as Tyreke Evans took over with his best game in Indiana with 23 points. Another game, another player steps up.

Oladipo is day-to-day with the knee soreness and while the team certainly hopes he doesn’t have to miss any games, they look more equipped to deal with his absence now than last season.

Having Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis a luxury for Indiana Pacers

While the NBA as a whole may be getting smaller, the Indiana Pacers have the rare luxury of two superb options at the center position in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.

“The dynamic duo of bigs that we have is phenomenal,” Victor Oladipo told reporters after the win against the Chicago Bulls. “It just goes to show you. … Myles protecting the rim like he did today, Domantas carrying us the way he did the other day coming off the bench and doing a great job like he always does, there’s no drop-off. That’s hard to find in this league.”

The Pacers pair of centers have come up huge at different points in the last three games thanks to their varying strengths.

On Wednesday, it was Sabonis and his rolling to the basket and rebounding that led the way as he scored 30 points with perfect shooting from the field at 12 for 12 in only 21 minutes before fouling out.

“He got in foul trouble and only played seven minutes in the first half,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said of Domas after the Knicks game. “In the second half, he continued to be aggressive and make plays for us. When we have a combination like that, guys playing well, we’re going to stay with them. He did an excellent job on both ends of the floor not only scoring for us but rebounding the ball.”

McMillan likes to roll with the hot hand and in the last three games it’s alternated between Sabonis and Turner down the stretch at the center position with each game coming down to the wire.

On Friday, it was Myles Turner’s turn as he made all of his 2-point attempts on his way to 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. The spacing his jump shot added to the team was a big factor but his biggest contributions came on the defensive end as he protected the rim as well as he has all season and blocked six shots, including the Bulls final attempt at the buzzer to win it.

“Protect the rim and be the best shot blocker in the NBA that I know I am,” Myles Turner said of what he was trying to do when he came in during the fourth quarter against the Bulls on the post-game interview.

“That’s what we wanted him to do is to defend the basket,” McMillan said after that one. “Tonight, he had to come out and defend the perimeter. Their guards are scorers, and those guys have the ability to shoot behind that 3-point line and they were knocking down some shots. We stayed with our defense trying to pressure those guys, keeping our bigs up, and he had the game-winning block at the end there.”

On Saturday, both players had their moments as Turner played well in the first three quarters scoring 12 points on only six shot attempts, but Sabonis got himself going in the fourth quarter playing alongside Tyreke Evans. After Turner came in a little later than he normally does in the final quarter, things simply weren’t going his way on either end as he committed a double dribble, got called for an illegal screen (questionable) and missed a midrange attempt, and McMillan went back to Sabonis quickly for the rest of the game.

“It’s part of the game,” Turner told Mark Montieth of Pacers.com afterwards. “Coach goes with what he feels is working. It’s not my job to sit back and complain. Just because I get subbed out, I’m not going to hope for guys not to do well. That’s not the way I’m built and that’s not the way this team is built.”

And that’s an important factor for both of these players to the team’s chemistry and success, they’re always putting the team ahead of themselves. Neither sulks on the bench after they get replaced by the other in the game.

While it might eventually be an issue with both players wanting more time on the court than they are currently getting, neither center is complaining at this point. The easiest solution to this would be the pair playing together, but it’s been at best a very mixed bag so far this season.

To be blunt, the overall numbers when they share the floor are terrible. Turner and Sabonis play on average just under five minutes per game together. Those lineups have a net rating of negative 17.5. The offense has simply gone to a halt at a abysmal 83.8 offensive rating.

There are some glimmers of hope buried in the numbers however while looking at specific lineups. When Sabonis replaces Thad Young and is playing with the rest of the starters including Turner, the Pacers have a net rating of 26.3. It’s an extremely small sample size of only eight minutes on the season, but that’s the third highest net rating of any lineup that has played at least that long this season.

Sabonis’s perfect shooting night against the Knicks also began by him dominating against smaller defenders while playing as the power forward alongside Turner. He scored on his first five offensive possessions that night starting with some offensive rebounds and putbacks and ending by abusing Enes Kanter’s pick-and-roll defense.

All of the statistics this year are still small sample sizes but if the Pacers want to give their pair of young centers their best chance at success, they may want to find ways to use them together more effectively on offense. Right now, both players have much higher net ratings when they play without the other player (Turner 7.1 and Sabonis 10.2).

The good news is that there is plenty of time for both players to improve and we’re seeing a lot of improvement from both Sabonis and Turner already this season.

One of Turner’s biggest struggles at times has been letting himself get rushed in his eagerness when opportunities come his way on the offensive end.

“Players who play with each other a couple of years, they know where they’re going to be,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said at the beginning of this past offseason. “That makes the game come slower. Domas, the game already comes slow. He can make reads. Myles, he gets a little frantic. And that makes a difference. He’s got to calm down a little bit.”

He’s started writing “TYT” (take your time) on his shoes and has made noticeable strides with his patience especially in the post where he has calmly made many moves with success that were rare last year.

He makes that dribble to the side often when a defender flashes towards him. Last season, he would have been much more likely to either take a quick shot or pick up his dribble and pass the ball at the first sign of a double team.

After struggling to finish inside after suffering a concussion early last season as he shot just 57% around the rim, he’s been very strong at that area this season at 72%. His patience a possible reason for that uptick in improvement this year as well.

While Turner’s rebounding numbers haven’t improved yet, his primary job on that end is to protect the rim. If he’s going to block a shot by helping on someone else’s man, that’s going to leave him out of position for a potential rebound. With how well he’s been defending at the basket, it’s not overly concerning that his rebound totals are stagnant as the team defense remains strong while he’s out there.

Most of the weaknesses for Sabonis are on the defensive end. While he’ll never be able to block shots like Turner, he’s been good on that end this season when playing at the center spot. According to NBA Math, Sabonis has the third-best DPS (Defensive Points Saved, Turner ranks first on the team in the same metric) on the Pacers and is actually the 17th-highest ranked player overall in TPA (Total Points Added) so far this season.

You’d still like to see Sabonis turn the ball over less (six turnovers in the same Knicks game where he didn’t miss a field goal) but he has improved in another area of his game that at times caused turnovers as defenses sat on his strong hand, especially in the post. You’re way more likely to see him use his right hand down low than in his first two seasons in the league where he earned the nickname Reverse Zoolander.

Both players have already dealt with foul trouble on a few occasions so far this season and have certainly committed a few fouls that they’d each like to have back, but that again showcases the value of having both players available when one is having issues with whistles.

The Indiana Pacers are very fortunate to have both of these dynamic, young big men in the present. With Turner locked up with his extension, the question will he whether they can afford to keep this luxury after next season when Sabonis’s rookie deal ends. For now, the Pacers get to enjoy the strengths of both players.

Victor Oladipo reminds everyone that this is his city

Victor Oladipo did it again. This time with a pull-up 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining with Kyrie Irving chasing and Al Horford contesting that gave the Indiana Pacers the lead and the victory after he stole the Celtics final inbound pass on the next possession and gave his signature This is My City gesture to the crowd.

It’s not like anyone could forget that fact but no one is going to mind being reminded like they were tonight.

“I’m going for the win,” Oladipo told reporters after the game. “Not because I’m saying I have to every time, but you’ve got to give yourself the confidence to do it and believe that you can do it. I’m not going to say every time we’re down two in a home game that I’m going to shoot a 3 but I’m just going to make the play that’s there.”

It was just over one year ago when Oladipo first laid claim to his city after making the game winner against the San Antonio Spurs. And oh, how he’s quickly endeared himself to the fanbase with relentless positivity and countless clutch moments in his relatively short time as a member of the Pacers.  Continue reading Victor Oladipo reminds everyone that this is his city

Victor Oladipo comes up clutch while dealing with bronchitis

The Indiana Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo struggled on the one of the biggest stages in the basketball world at Madison Square Garden during the first-half with just five points against the New York Knicks on national television.

He went on to score 19 points in the second half including 9 points in the game’s final minutes including a go-ahead steal and two clutch 3-pointers to clinch the win for Indiana.  Continue reading Victor Oladipo comes up clutch while dealing with bronchitis

Tyreke Evans gets a wake up call from the Pacers

Maybe Tyreke Evans hasn’t been around an organization that holds its players accountable much in his career to this point, but the Indiana Pacers aren’t looking to play any games. Evans was late to practice and will not play in tomorrow night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“This is the most professional and team-oriented organization I have been with in my career,” said Evans in the team statement. “They deserve my best every day and I am disappointed in myself for causing a distraction that prevents me from being able to help my team tomorrow. I will do better.”  Continue reading Tyreke Evans gets a wake up call from the Pacers

Notes & Numbers: Pacers have been up and down in first four games

The Indiana Pacers have been on a roller coaster start alternating between blowing opponents out and getting blown out in their first four games, winning twice easily at home and losing while not playing well twice on the road.

The most important thing to remember about these games: it’s early. It’s a long season. The Pacers will have good nights and bad ones. It’s important to not overreact to any single one of them in a negative or positive way.

Here are some interesting statistics and notes from the first four games in no particular order:

Myles Turner leads the league in screen assists per game:

In only 25 minutes per game (due to foul trouble and blowouts), Myles Turner leads the league in screen assists at 6.8 per game. The next four players coming right after him (Rudy Gobert, Steven Adams, Tristan Thompson, Enes Kanter) are all playing over 30 minutes per game. The next closest Pacer to Turner’s 6.8 is Domas Sabonis at 3 per game.  Continue reading Notes & Numbers: Pacers have been up and down in first four games

Davon Reed worth taking a chance on for the Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are expected to add second-year guard Davon Reed to a 2-way contract after he has officially cleared waivers.

Reed was drafted early in the second round at pick 32 last season by the Phoenix Suns, who waived him earlier this week in order to make room for their new acquisition, Jamal Crawford.

After having knee surgery last offseason, Reed struggled once he returned to action with the Suns as he made just 28.9% of his shots in his 21 games and didn’t shoot any better while playing for the Suns G-League affiliate either.

So why are the Pacers interested in a guy who played poorly in limited minutes for one of the worst teams in basketball last season?  Continue reading Davon Reed worth taking a chance on for the Indiana Pacers

Tyreke Evans looks like exactly what the Pacers needed

Last season, the Indiana Pacers were in trouble at any point with Victor Oladipo on the bench. This year, that problem’s been solved by the addition of one player: Tyreke Evans.

The Indiana Pacers had a net rating of 6.0 last year with their All Star on the court. Without him, they had a net rating of -8.2.

In the season opener against the Memphis Grizzlies, Oladipo was +9 in his 25 minutes. In the 23 minutes he was on the bench, the Pacers were even better at +19.

“If there’s no drop-off when they get in the game,” Oladipo said of the second unit, “we could be really special.”  Continue reading Tyreke Evans looks like exactly what the Pacers needed

Indiana Pacers impose their will on the glass in blowout season opener

Indiana Pacers Head Coach Nate McMillan’s focus all training camp was on rebounding. After one game, it appears that it’s already paying major dividends for the blue and gold.

“In training camp, it was a big penalty if you gave up rebounds in the paint,” McMillan said after the Pacers destruction of the Memphis Grizzlies by a final of 111-83. “I gave the other team three points every time you missed a rebound.  It was just a way to get our guys focused on this part of the game. I liked what we did tonight.”

Continue reading Indiana Pacers impose their will on the glass in blowout season opener

Season Preview: 3 Questions and 4 Predictions for the 2018-19 Indiana Pacers

The NBA is back and the Indiana Pacers return tonight in their season opener.

The Eastern Conference is more wide open than it has been in maybe a decade now that you-know-who has taken his talents to the West, but most of the pundits seem to point to the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors as the favorites to get to the NBA Finals.

While most expect the Pacers to finish at about the same spot in the playoffs as last season, they enter the year with an upgraded bench and a returning starting lineup that had so much chemistry in their first year together. Can they surprise the basketball world a second straight season and make some noise in the playoffs? We’re about to find out.

Here’s some of the questions for the team this season with some predictions sprinkled in as well.

Can Victor Oladipo become an MVP candidate?

In the team’s offseason “mini-camp” in Miami, players came back reporting that Victor Oladipo looked like he was going to be even better than the year before. He was the player that guys pointed out as looking highly improved over the summer.

That’s saying something for the winner of the Most Improved Player award.

“I’m still hungry,” Oladipo said this past July. “I think I’m hungrier now than I was when I first got here. I want to be great. I’ve been saying that since I walked into his facility and started being a Pacer. I want to be one of the greatest to ever play this game. Whatever I got to do to do that, I’m going to try my best to try and achieve that and in the process of winning. That’s the goal.”

Continue reading Season Preview: 3 Questions and 4 Predictions for the 2018-19 Indiana Pacers

Reports: Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers agree to extension

In a bit of surprise news, Myles Turner and the Indiana Pacers agreed to a contract extension ahead of today’s 6 p.m. deadline with a 4-year, $72 million deal that could go as high as $80 million with bonuses according to ESPN and The Athletic.

This avoids the Pacers needing to deal with restricted free agency next summer and avoids someone coming in with a mammoth offer to try and pry the big man away from Indiana. And for Turner, it puts to rest any worries about getting his next contract.  Continue reading Reports: Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers agree to extension

Pacers Edmond Sumner is ready for his opportunity

After an impressive preseason for the Indiana Pacers 2-way player, Edmond Sumner could be poised for a big second season if the opportunity comes.

“”Just stay ready,” Sumner said of what the coaching staff has told him of his role. “Whenever my number is called just be ready.”

There might not be minutes for Sumner immediately when the season begins but if any injury to a guard or small forward occurs, it’ll likely be Sumner that steps up.

“It gives us another look with our depth,” said Darren Collison after practice on Saturday. “It’s such a long season that you never know whose going to have an opportunity to perform or play well or go down with injury God forbid. He can step right in and fulfill a role that we might need down the stretch of the season. He can play some point guard, play some two, maybe even some three. I thought he played well.”

Sumner was the first choice for Nate McMillan in the preseason when both Tyreke Evans and Cory Joseph were out with an injury. With Evans’s injury history, having a capable replacement is paramount and Sumner looks up to the task if needed. Continue reading Pacers Edmond Sumner is ready for his opportunity

Victor Oladipo appears on HBO’s The Shop

Victor Oladipo showed up on the second episode of The Shop on HBO, LeBron James’s new show where athletes and celebrities have an open conversation in a barbershop.

The Indiana Pacers star showed off his singing voice to start the show off.

He also talked about his experience over his first four seasons in the league, the struggles in his only season in Oklahoma City and being traded twice in a year.  Continue reading Victor Oladipo appears on HBO’s The Shop