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

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Two-Ahh: Pacers cruise to easy win over Kings

Domantas Sabonis continues his impressive start with the Indiana Pacers.

Within the first seven minutes of the game, Sabonis had nine rebounds to go with six points.

At the end of the first half with the Pacers up 55-30, Sabonis had yet another double double already with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists.  Continue reading Two-Ahh: Pacers cruise to easy win over Kings

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

Two-Ahh: Pacers run past the Wolves while setting a franchise record in shooting percentage

In some games, the box score simply speaks for itself. In this game, the Pacers box score was a work of art.

The Pacers shot a franchise record 66.7% on their way to 130 points as they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves for their first road win of the season.  Continue reading Two-Ahh: Pacers run past the Wolves while setting a franchise record in shooting percentage

Two-Ahh: Pacers comeback effort falls short against Heat

In the middle of the third quarter, the Pacers trailed by 21 points, and it looked like the fourth quarter was going to be 12 minutes of garbage time.

But the Pacers had other ideas.

These new-look Pacers refused to give up, cutting the deficit all the way to just two points with 12 seconds to play, but the Heat made both free throws to ice the game and won by a final of 112-108.  Continue reading Two-Ahh: Pacers comeback effort falls short against Heat

Two-Ahh: Pacers fall to Blazers

Without Myles Turner, the Pacers chances weren’t great against a Portland Trailblazers team that won its first game by 48 points without its second-best player in CJ McCollum.

While the Pacers kept themselves in the game for awhile, they couldn’t keep up with the Blazers, who ultimately won by a score of 114-96.

Victor Oladipo provided the highlight of the night with a beautiful finish on an alley oop that made many audibly gasp.  Continue reading Two-Ahh: Pacers fall to Blazers

Myles Turner is out for at least the next two games with a concussion

The Pacers announced last night that Turner was questionable with a sore neck for the team’s game against the Portland Trailblazers.

Now, it seems that Turner has developed symptoms of a concussion and will miss both of team’s next two games before he’s re-evaluated later this weekend.  Continue reading Myles Turner is out for at least the next two games with a concussion

iPacers Discuss: Season Preview

Here’s the iPacers team of Contributors Joe Betz and Ross Blauvelt and Editor-in-Chief Derek Kramer here to discuss a few questions to preview the Indiana Pacers 2017-18 season that begins tomorrow night against the Brooklyn Nets. What’s in store for the Blue and the Gold in the dawn of this new era?  Continue reading iPacers Discuss: Season Preview

Wilkins, Uthoff look likely to make team as Pacers waive three players

Update: Jarrod Uthoff has since been waived as well.

The Indiana Pacers announced today that they waived Ben Moore, Trey McKinney-Jones and DeQuan Jones.

This means that Damien Wilkins and Jarrod Uthoff will likely take the final two spots on the roster. Alex Poythress and Edmond Sumner have 2-way contracts and don’t count on the 15-man roster.  Continue reading Wilkins, Uthoff look likely to make team as Pacers waive three players

Glenn Robinson III now out up to four months after surgery

Glenn Robinson III’s severe ankle sprain has gone from taking a quarter of his season to at least half of 2017-18 for the breakout candidate.

The Indiana Pacers announced that Robinson’s surgery was successful to repair medial and lateral ligaments in his left ankle but added that he would be expected to be out for the next three to four monthsContinue reading Glenn Robinson III now out up to four months after surgery

Final Roster Cuts: Who will the Pacers keep around?

After finishing the preseason 3-1 after a victory over Maccabi Haifa, the Pacers have a week of practices before having to decide on their final roster for opening night of the 2017-2018 season.

Most of the 15 NBA-contract spots are already locked down. The following players will be on the team, barring something unexpected happening:  Continue reading Final Roster Cuts: Who will the Pacers keep around?

Leaf leads comeback with 18 points in the fourth quarter

Pacers first-round draft pick TJ Leaf scored 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Pacers overcame a 10-point deficit with six minutes remaining to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-102. The Pacers are now 2-0 in the preseason.

“This is my second NBA game,” Leaf said after the victory. “It definitely gives me some confidence knowing if I play my role I can be successful.”

Leaf did most of his damage from beyond the arc as the rookie hit four 3-pointers in the quarter. During Summer League, Leaf had not yet adjusted to the longer above-the-break NBA 3-pointer and missed every non-corner three he took, but he seems used to the distance now. Three of his long balls were near the top of the key.

“It was good to see him knock down some shots and stay aggressive,” said Nate McMillan, “We drew up a play for him and he came off and nailed that three, so that was a big shot. A very confident kid, and that’s how we want him to play, don’t worry about mistakes, stay aggressive and play the game, and I thought he did that.”

When Leaf hits his 3-point shot, he can then use his drive game as defenders have to close out hard on his shot attempts. Leaf took advantage on a couple of drives in the fourth as he earned a trip to the foul line on the first and scored on a layup on the second.

While he did his damage against Cavaliers bench guys like Derrick Williams and Channing Frye, it’s encouraging to see the rookie take advantage of these kinds of matchups. This is where Leaf can make his mark early in his career on the offensive end. He’ll struggle on defense as he’s slow on the perimeter and needs to add strength inside. This was a good sign for Leaf to show he can contribute early, as increased struggles may have led the Pacers to go back to Al Jefferson as the backup center and move Domantas Sabonis to backup power forward.

Sabonis was another bright spot in game two of the season as he scored 17 points in only 18 minutes, making six of his eight shot attempts and adding seven rebounds. Sabonis shot under 40% in his rookie season, primarily because he was limited to the perimeter. With the Pacers, his post game should be utilized much more, which should lead to a higher field goal percentage for Sabonis.

Other notes from game two:
Glenn Robinson III’s injury is a missed opportunity. Bojan Bogdanovic has struggled with his shot in his first two games as a Pacer. Bogdanovic has only one made 3-point shot in nine attempts and it was banked in. If GR3 was healthy and playing well, he might be making some noise to move into the starting lineup. Instead, he’s only able to watch and rehab as he awaits his ankle to heal up. Hopefully, he can return at full strength and still have a breakout season that he seemed poised for before the injury.

Damien Wilkins is going to make the team. McMillan played the 37-year-old for 24 minutes, more than just about anyone in the second preseason game. Alex Poythress played only four minutes, while Ben Moore and Jarrod Uthoff have still yet to see the floor. You have to question McMillan’s decision making here as there’s little to be gained by playing Wilkins that much instead of the young guys that could gain tremendous experience playing at an NBA pace. It would be beneficial to the Pacers to see what they have in Moore, Uthoff, and Poythress in these next two games in an actual game setting.

Myles Turner continues to look awesome. Early in the game the Pacers were struggling to keep up with the LeBron James-less Cavs, but Turner was a bright spot. This may be a common occurrence when the Pacers play contenders this season. In one short two-minute stretch, Turner scored a basket on a fadeaway in the post, made a great recovery on defense to block a Kevin Love layup attempt, made a perfect pass for an assist to wide open Oladipo for a layup, and then hit another jump shot on the Pacers next offensive possession. He finished with 12 points in 21 minutes.

The Pacers are intent on shooting more 3-pointers. The Pacers had one of the highest percentages from distance last season but were at the bottom of the league in attempts. The Pacers are averaging 30 3-point attempts in the first two preseason games so far this year and while the results haven’t been great, it’s good to see the Pacers embracing the long range game. Percentages should improve as Bojan finds his jumper again and Turner’s shot starts falling, but players like Lance Stephenson and Victor Oladipo will likely shoot plenty of threes, but remain inconsistent on results. This would still be better than Stephenson and Oladipo settling for midrange jumpers instead.

Pacers show encouraging signs in preseason win to start new era

The Indiana Pacers won their preseason opener in Milwaukee by a final score of 104-86. The Pacers ran away with the game in the third quarter where they outscored the Bucks 30-15. Myles Turner and Lance Stephenson led the team in scoring with 17 points each.

While the preseason results don’t matter, this was the new-look Pacers first opportunity to play together outside of practice, and it was an interesting dive into what the Pacers will strive to be in the regular season. Here’s some takeaways from game one:

Myles Turner is going to shoot more threes. A third of Turner’s 12 shot attempts were from beyond the 3-point line. While Turner managed to make only one attempt of his four tonight, it was encouraging to see him look to shoot from distance with confidence. Turner’s defense was also impressive. Turner was active at the rim, looked to consistently be in the correct position, and grabbed nine rebounds. Turner showed some improvement in post defense, forcing multiple misses in the first half, while also showing his great rim protection on multiple occasions with three blocks. Turner’s development is the key for the Pacers to accelerate this rebuilding era, and it’s quite possible he’ll have an All-Star selection coming his way this season.

Victor Oladipo has the greenest of green lights. Oladipo shot it early and often, shooting 8 times in the first quarter. He finished with 15 points on 15 shot attempts (making six). It’s clear that Oladipo will be one of the Pacers first scoring options and may lead the team in scoring, efficiency probably won’t be great.

Lance will make us dance. Stephenson will serve as the sixth man this year and he looked much like the player that he only seems to be in a Pacers uniform. Stephenson was the main ball handler for the second unit and set up Domantas Sabonis numerous times with nifty passes as they’ve seemed to gain some chemistry over the summer as both have spent the offseason in Indianapolis. Stephenson is going to flirt with triple doubles, get hyped, take maddening mid-range jump shots, bully his way to the rim, make some occasional threes. Stephenson finished with 17 points, six assists and six rebounds.

Damien Wilkins looks alright. Old Man Wilkins, complete with gray facial hair, was a questionable free agent signee at 37 years old and being out of the NBA for the past four seasons. Tonight, Wilkins led the Pacers in scoring in the first half with 10 points and finished with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting. He looks like he’ll adequately serve as the backup small forward while Glenn Robinson III is out with his severe ankle injury. While you could still argue that the Pacers would be better served giving those minutes to a young player like Alex Poythress or Ben Moore that need the development time, Wilkins won’t be a liability on the court and should be a good veteran presence while with the second unit. His situation seems reminiscent of Rasual Butler from 2013-14.

He currently looks like a lock to make the roster. Alex Poythress may be a candidate for the final spot as he was the 12th player to enter the game tonight, which would open up one of the Pacers 2-way contract spots for either Jarrod Uthoff or Ben Moore, neither of whom played tonight.

Al Jefferson is going to have to earn his way back on the court. At least for tonight’s game, the Pacers played Sabonis at the backup five and rookie TJ Leaf as the backup power forward. While Less Big Al lost 40 pounds over the offseason and seems more intent on a better season this year, he’s currently the third-string center. It’s possible the Pacers end up deciding that Leaf isn’t quite ready for minutes yet, but at least to start the season (and in training camp practices), Jefferson will be mainly on the bench.

It’s perilous to make many judgments based on the first preseason game (the Pacers showed encouraging signs last year in the first preseason game too), but the Pacers seemed committed to the running style that they’ve been talking about pursuing for years, and Wilkins praised the team chemistry after the game, which has been a struggle for the Pacers for the past couple of seasons as well.

 

Glenn Robinson III is out two months with severely sprained ankle

Glenn Robinson III was injured in today’s training camp practice, and multiple media reports say that while his MRIs were negative, the young wing will miss two months with a severely sprained ankle.

“He went up to attack the basket and one of our guys went up to contest the show and came down on his leg,” Pacers Coach Nate McMillan said after today’s practice. 

The Pacers were calling it simply a lower leg injury before the MRI revealed the severe sprain.

Robinson was poised to be in a battle with free-agent-signee Bojan Bogdanovic for the starting small forward spot, but Bogdanovic will now begin the season with the starters without a challenger.

All things considered, for Robinson to be back early in the season in December should be considered good news after the news of his injury broke as he’ll still be available for the vast majority of this season.

The question now becomes who will step up to replace Robinson in the rotation as the backup small forward to begin the season.

Will McMillan go to shorter 9-man rotation with Lance Stephenson and Cory Joseph picking up some extra minutes? Will Joe Young play some backup shooting guard with Stephenson at the 3? Maybe Thaddeus Young plays some spot SF minutes with the bench unit? Will the old Damien Wilkins earn the spot, or will rookie Ben Moore surprise in training camp and preseason and grab some early season minutes?

McMillan and the Pacers have a lot of options to sift through before the regular season begins, although none of them sound extremely appealing as the Pacers wing depth was thin even before the Robinson injury.

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!

 

Lakers fined $500K for tampering with Paul George

After an independent investigation, the Los Angeles Lakers were found to have tampered with Paul George and were fined $500,000.

The reason for the fine was Lakers GM Rob Pelinka expressing interest in George to his agent Aaron Mintz while he was still under contract with the Pacers.

This happened after the league had already issued a warning to the Lakers for tampering after Magic Johnson’s wink-filled interview on national television with Jimmy Kimmel.

The Pacers won’t receive any compensation like draft picks as the league did not find evidence that the Lakers and George had reached an agreement for George to join the team in free agency in 2018.

It’s a small consolation to the Pacers who had zero leverage in the Paul George trade talks because of his widely known desire to join the Lakers and his agent telling teams he would just be a rental.

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