PacersrecaP #7: Chris Duarte breaks through his slump, the predictable patterns of Myles Turner

The Indiana Pacers lost the game, but Steve Nash lost the war. After fighting back to tie the game at 100 after being down 48-24, the Pacers couldn’t quite finish off their comeback against the Brooklyn Nets, who won by a final score of 116-109, split the miniseries, and promptly fired their head coach the next morning.

Back to the classic formula for the Pacers (3-5) season in this one: fall behind, keep fighting, make a couple big runs, never quite take the lead, eventually lose the game. It’s a script that would be frustrating in a typical season, but with the team focused on growth and development of their young players it has made for an entertaining start to the year.

#1 Chris Duarte breaks through his sophomore slump

Second straight game with a Pacers guard setting a career high against the Brooklyn Nets. Last time, it was rookie Bennedict Mathurin. This time, it was second-year player Chris Duarte, who scored 30 points Continue reading PacersrecaP #7: Chris Duarte breaks through his slump, the predictable patterns of Myles Turner

Myles Turner is likely gone and he knows it

Myles Turner went on the Woj Pod with ESPN’s NBA newsbreaker Adrian Wojnarowski and talked about dealing with years of trade rumors and even dove into the specifics of the oft-discussed Lakers deal.

“That’s such an intriguing question,” Turner said when asked whether the Lakers should make the deal. “I think personally when you look at this business of the league and know the landscape of the league, you have to go off of your future. We all know picks are so valuable in this league and with someone like myself heading into the last year of my deal you want to make sure you’re getting a return for your assets. If I’m the Lakers, I’m taking a very hard look at this with the position that you’re in. I know what I can provide for a team–my leadership, my shot blocking, my 3-point ability, and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor–and I take a very long look at it. As far as pulling the trigger, I get paid to shoot not to make these calls so I couldn’t answer that.”

It’s bizarre to hear a player both being asked and then answering a question about whether a team should trade for him but here we are. Turner, who did admit the appeal of playing in a bigger market like LA later in the podcast, is certainly in a unique position where he’s been in trade rumors maybe longer than anyone in NBA history and is acutely aware of the Pacers situation with him and his upcoming free agency. Continue reading Myles Turner is likely gone and he knows it

PacersrecaP #6: Haliburton and Mathurin put on a show

The Indiana Pacers (3-4) are on a winning streak after hitting a franchise-record 23 3-point shots as they beat the Brooklyn Nets (1-5) by a final score of 125-116. 

The backcourt dynamic duo of Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin led the way in this one as they gave everyone an enticing glimpse into the Pacers future while combining for 58 points and twelve 3-pointers. They dominated the Nets to the point of their head coach Steve Nash calling his team’s performance a “disaster.” That’s what happens when you don’t play Edmond Sumner, Steve.

#1 Bennedict. Mathurin. Wow.

32 points off the bench for the Pacers rookie sensation. After a so-so performance the previous night in D.C. where he wasn’t his usual ultra-aggressive self, Mathurin made his impact immediately and efficiently after entering the game with 4:19 left in the first quarter. Over four straight possessions, Mathurin drawed a foul, hit a layup on a drive, found Goga Bitadze inside for an assist, and hit a 3-pointer quickly cutting the Nets lead from 19-11 to 22-20 in the process.

The Pacers offense started off a little timid like they had a hint of stage fright with the stage lights in Brooklyn. Mathurin, never afraid of a challenge and already seems to be the kind of guy that rises to the occasion, was the perfect antidote to wake the team up from its back-to-back slumber. Continue reading PacersrecaP #6: Haliburton and Mathurin put on a show

PacersrecaP #5: The Haliburton leap, Monster Myles, and TMNT

The Indiana Pacers didn’t lay an egg on national television! It felt necessary to start there. They beat the Washington Wizards as they played well throughout the game on their way to a 127-117 win in what is their only scheduled game on ESPN or TNT this season.

In what was a reverse game script of the first five games, the Pacers were the ones that blitzed their opponent to start the game as a 22-2 run turned an 8-13 deficit into a 30-15 advantage and the Wizards were suddenly the ones trying to put together runs and constantly working uphill. Much like the Pacers in their losses, the Wizards also kept fighting but couldn’t get it any closer than 6 points as Indiana was able to consistently hit timely 3-pointers (15 of 29) or get to the foul line (30 of 33). Every Pacers starter scored at least 15 points and played over 30 minutes in this one. 

#1 Tyrese Haliburton puts on a show for the national audience.

Tyrese Haliburton has repeated his personal goals on a few outlets in the last few months:

  • Average 20 points and 10 assists
  • Be an All-Star

And well, both of those are well within reach. After he scored 25 points and dished out 12 assists on ESPN, he’s checking that first goal off his list about every night as he has averaged 23 points and 10.3 assists. Continue reading PacersrecaP #5: The Haliburton leap, Monster Myles, and TMNT

PacersrecaP #4: Myles Turner is back; Bennedict Mathurin refuses to quit until the final buzzer

PACERSRECAP #4: The Indiana Pacers lost their fourth game of the season last night as the Chicago Bulls lit their defense on fire in the first half with back-to-back 38-point quarters and cruised to a 124-109 win.

The pesky Pacers refused to go away and did get the deficit down into single digits a few times including once at 95-91 but couldn’t string enough stops together to overcome the gigantic hole they put themselves in at the start as the Bulls hit five of their first six 3-point attempts and were ahead 30-15 with 4 minutes left in the first. It’s a similar story to about every game this season except for the Pistons game where they completed the comeback after the terrible start.

#1 Myles Turner is back but he isn’t saving this defense.

No one should have expected Turner to magically fix the many flaws of perimeter defense on this team but tonight was the quick confirmation that they had plenty of issues that go beyond missing their Rim Protector Supreme.  Continue reading PacersrecaP #4: Myles Turner is back; Bennedict Mathurin refuses to quit until the final buzzer

PacersrecaP #3: Pacers fall to Sixers, Mathurin’s confidence unshaken by rough start

PACERSRECAP #3: The Indiana Pacers (1-3) couldn’t overcome a shooting drought in the first half or find enough stops against the Philadelphia 76ers’ (1-3) duo of Joel Embiid and James Harden and lost by a final score of 120-106.

With the contending-hopeful Sixers entering the game at 0-3 and the rebuilding Pacers fresh off their first win of the season, this was a game that met expectations much like a Michael Bay blockbuster. We got what we knew we would get. With Bay, you get fast cuts and explosions. With Embiid and Harden, you get flailing arms and free throws. Like Bay, this game had story beats that made little sense when inspected with the tiniest bit of scrutiny (no, it would not be harder to make astronauts become oil drillers than the other way around, Michael). For the Pacers, it was the play where James Harden simply stood in the same place on the wing for ~5 seconds and ended up with a wide-open three as a defensive communication saw Tyrese Haliburton who expected a switch and another defender both leave Harden to go with an offensive player that ghosted a screen.

Still, in a season where losses are going to pile up, there were other things we can take from this game beyond the final score and the expected struggles of a young team against a team with title aspirations. Continue reading PacersrecaP #3: Pacers fall to Sixers, Mathurin’s confidence unshaken by rough start

PacersrecaP #2: Bennedict Mathurin is a superhero and everything’s coming up Goga

The Indiana Pacers are in the win column for the first time in the 2022-23 season after defeating their Central Division rival the Detroit Pistons by a final score of 124-115 behind the wizardry of Bennedict Mathurin and Tyrese Haliburton and a forceful trio of young big men.

Welcome to PacersrecaP, a place for fans of the Pacers and palindromes where we have fun recapping the events of the latest 48 minutes of basketball with takeaways, scattered thoughts, and occasional tomfoolery.

After getting off to a slow start yet again, missing their first 12 3-pointers and allowing another 35-point quarter, the Pacers didn’t wait until the last few minutes to make things close and interesting. They won the second and third quarters by a combined 19 points and had easily their best defensive game of the season.

Let’s get to it:

#1 Bennedict Mathurin is a superhero.

His superpowers? Pull-up 3-point shooting, driving through the lane with fearlessness, putting the ball in the basket, flight, and making Pacers fans fall in love instantly. Continue reading PacersrecaP #2: Bennedict Mathurin is a superhero and everything’s coming up Goga

PacersrecaP #1: an ugly game turns thrilling late as Pacers lose against Spurs

The Indiana Pacers are 0-2 after a valiant effort to comeback came up short against the San Antonio Spurs as they lost 137-134.

Welcome to PacersrecaP where every column ends the way it began like a Christopher Nolan film. Think of it like Tenet, confusing at first, no one knows what I’m talking about but slowly it starts to make more sense as time goes on. Or maybe I just like palindromes and couldn’t resist being clever for the sake of being clever … like a Christopher Nolan film.

Alright, this article is already more off the rails than the Pacers defense over the first two games of the season or that train in Inception. I promise that’s the last Nolan reference—until I think of another one.

To the game! Continue reading PacersrecaP #1: an ugly game turns thrilling late as Pacers lose against Spurs

PacersrecaP #00: Three Overreactions to the Indiana Pacers season opener

The Indiana Pacers lost the season opener to the Washington Wizards by a final score of 114-107 but the loss doesn’t mean there were no positives to takeaway from the start of the 2022-23 season.

In fact, in the same spirit of the latest Locked On Pacers episode, it’s a great time for overreacting. And in this season of no expectations, there’s no reason to not think brightly about at least few pieces of the Pacers future.

#1 Bennedict Mathurin will be the greatest shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers since Reggie Miller.

Forget all of the potential rookie-related overreactions: Rookie of the Year, All-Rookie First Team, MVP of the Rookies / Sophomores game, etc. I’m diving straight into predicting Mathurin’s whole career based on his first very game and really just the final sixty seconds. Continue reading PacersrecaP #00: Three Overreactions to the Indiana Pacers season opener

Deciphering the Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers situation

Myles Turner is not interested in an extension with the Indiana Pacers according to Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, who appeared on the podcast Setting the Pace.

“They have every reason to believe that Myles Turner is not going to sign an extension to stay here,” Kravitz said on Setting the Pace. “… It’s not me guessing here. Myles has no interest in staying in Indianapolis.”

Now, Turner has come out on Twitter to call “cap” at least on the second half of that statement (translation: saying that he is not interested in staying with the Pacers is false).

There’s a few possible reasons for the disconnect between what Kravitz reported and Turner’s feelings about his situation. Continue reading Deciphering the Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers situation

How a bike accident may have changed the course of Pacers history

The beginning of the Indiana Pacers NBA history was a far cry from their ABA dynasty days. Financial struggles contributed to many poor personnel decisions which led to the team losing a lot in those dark days as they barely survived the merger between the two leagues. Ironically, the Pacers first NBA season with any amount of success led to perhaps the worst trade in team history and may have prevented the franchise’s NBA accomplishments dwarfing those three ABA championships.

But that one season of modest success might not have happened in the first place without a bicycle accident.

In the 1980-81 season, Jack McKinney led the Pacers to the NBA playoffs for the first time in his first season as coach of the team after taking over for the retiring Bobby “Slick” Leonard. The previous season McKinney was with the Los Angeles Lakers, who won the title in Magic Johnson’s rookie season. So why would the Lakers get rid of their head coach after winning a championship? Continue reading How a bike accident may have changed the course of Pacers history

Rumors: Details on the Pacers and Lakers Russell Westbrook trade negotiations

The Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers have discussed a deal that would send both Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to L.A. and Russell Westbrook and draft compensation to Indiana according to multiple media outlets.

Bob Kravitz of The Athletic reports the deal is currently “dead” as the Pacers would like an additional first-round pick to the current draft capital that’s being offered.

The biggest issue with the deal is that the Lakers are limited in what draft picks they have to even offer after sending so many out to get Anthony Davis and the limits on trading firsts in consecutive seasons. Continue reading Rumors: Details on the Pacers and Lakers Russell Westbrook trade negotiations

Pacers are trying to prep the runway for Tyrese Haliburton to takeoff

The Indiana Pacers are rebuilding. While doing so openly and without shame by accumulating draft picks and pursuing young talent, the foundation of it all is Tyrese Haliburton and everything they’ve done this off-season has giving their point guard every opportunity to make a leap in mind.

MFW when a Pacers front office isn’t scared of the word “rebuild”

The first step for the Pacers front office was to move Malcolm Brogdon who didn’t fit a rebuilding timeline and limited Haliburton’s impact when they shared the floor last season. It was only eight games, but in over 200 minutes the Pacers had a net rating of -16.3 with both guards playing together and Haliburton’s usage rate dropped to just 16.1% which was far below his 20.5% rate in his Pacers minutes without Brogdon.

In clutch moments, Brogdon was far too likely to be handling the bulk of playmaking duties instead of the more dynamic threat in the Pacers newcomer. Moving the veteran leaves no doubt about who should be running the offense and Haliburton, who can be deferential to a fault, knows his team will be relying on him more than ever next season.

“The load, or what I’m being asked to do, is more than probably I’ve ever been asked to do in terms of responsibility,” Haliburton, who averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 assists per game with Indiana, told USA Today. “So, yeah, I’m just really excited for it. It’s an opportunity that everybody wants in their life and grew up wanting this opportunity in the NBA.” Continue reading Pacers are trying to prep the runway for Tyrese Haliburton to takeoff

Pacers Summer League Takeaways: What we learned in Las Vegas

The Indiana Pacers finished off their Summer League schedule with a loss to the Washington Wizards and suffered perhaps the worst shooting performance ever seen against the Phoenix Suns. Before the Wizards game, they actually had a shot at playing in the championship if they would have won by at least 15 points but Indiana rested many of their top players including Bennedict Mathurin, Isaiah Jackson, Chris Duarte, and Terry Taylor. Duane Washington Jr. was also inactive after being waived earlier this week so the Pacers could sign Deandre Ayton to an offer sheet. The Summer Pacers finished just 2-3 overall.

With three draft picks and seven players that were on the team’s roster in some capacity last season—plus newcomer Aaron Nesmith—this was a loaded group for the Pacers for Summer League in the first three games. While it’s important not to overreact positively or negatively to anything that happens in Las Vegas, there’s still plenty to learn and takeaway from these exhibition games. Here’s my takeaways from each player:

Bennedict Mathurin

The number six pick in the 2022 NBA Draft didn’t disappoint in his pseudo-debut for the Pacers as he averaged 19.3 points, 4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in just 22 minutes per game. He finished his three games with shooting splits of 48.8/38.5/76.5. His numbers efficiency-wise compare favorably to any rookie in his class.

Mathurin averaged the third-most PPG among rookies in Vegas despite a much lower minute total than those above him.

Mathurin impressed in catch-and-shoot situations off the ball as expected but showed also showed off some nice on-ball skills with step-back 3-pointers and a variety of drives to the rim where he often finished or drew a foul (5.7 free throw attempts per game). Continue reading Pacers Summer League Takeaways: What we learned in Las Vegas

Pacers drop historic max offer sheet to Deandre Ayton, Suns immediately match it

The Indiana Pacers and Deandre Ayton saga has reached its dramatic conclusion as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the two parties have a agreed to a 4-year, $133 million max offer sheet that is the largest in NBA history, and the Suns matched it instantly as soon as it was received.

The Pacers cleared about $4.6 million in cap space to have the room to sign the center by waiving Duane Washington Jr. and using the stretch provision on Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan, and Nik Stauskas who were all acquired in the Malcolm Brogdon trade. This is actually the second time that Stauskas has been traded to Indiana and waived without playing a single game for the Pacers.

This is a historic move for the Pacers franchise in multiple ways beyond just the fact that this is the largest offer sheet in league history. Continue reading Pacers drop historic max offer sheet to Deandre Ayton, Suns immediately match it

Pacers Summer League Grades: Bennedict Mathurin dominates, Aaron Nesmith debuts

The Indiana Pacers looked like Summer League contenders again in a dominant effort against the Detroit Pistons as they won 101-87 behind rookie Bennedict Mathurin’s best performance in Las Vegas so far.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Jaden Ivey in this matchup after he tweaked his ankle in Pistons previous game, but the Pacers starters bounced back from the previous game and made this an entertaining one for fans to watch. Let’s dive right into the grades.

Bennedict Mathurin – A+

Mathurin airballed his first 3-pointer of the night and then just destroyed the Pistons defense at every opportunity. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Grades: Bennedict Mathurin dominates, Aaron Nesmith debuts

The Pacers & Deandre Ayton are the will-they-won’t-they plot of the NBA off-season

The Indiana Pacers are interested in restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton and could give him a max offer sheet or complete a sign-and-trade for him with the Phoenix Suns as early as well yesterday. This according to media reports for what feels like the last week but most recently by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Scott Agness of The Fieldhouse Files confirms the Pacers are interested in Ayton. Marc Stein has reported that much of the league is waiting to see if Indiana will make that widely anticipated offer. Windhorst has been all over the ESPN world rumor mongering for a few days about this one including that the Pacers have met with Ayton. Plenty of smoke just from yesterday in the NBA Rumor Mill.

You may be thinking: So what’s the hold up? Why aren’t the Pacers making this move already that I’ve been hearing rumors about for the entire off-season? Are these two going to end up together or what? Come on, Ross and Rachel! We don’t want to go through 236 episodes of every ESPN talk show waiting for the answer here. Let’s get on with it!

I am right there with you, hypothetical reader, and ready for the constant Ayton anticipation to reach its climatic ending whether that’s in Indiana or elsewhere. There are lots of layers to this slowly-developing situation, but the biggest reason that the Pacers and Ayton are stuck in this will-they-won’t-they loop typically reserved for sitcoms is restricted free agency. Continue reading The Pacers & Deandre Ayton are the will-they-won’t-they plot of the NBA off-season

Pacers Summer League Grades: Starters struggle against Kings

The Indiana Pacers fell to the Sacramento Kings in their second Summer League game 103-96 in a showdown between two top draft picks in Bennedict Mathurin and Keegan Murray.

Chris Duarte sat this one out after he looked too good for these summer exhibitions in game one and the Pacers starting lineup missed him, but some guys that didn’t play in the first game had nice showings today. Without further ado, let’s jump into the grades:

Bennedict Mathurin – C+

Mathurin’s final line of 15 points (6 of 16), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 turnover sums up an okay performance decently in this one. His numbers easily could have looked better if just a couple more things fell his way: 2 of 5 from the free-throw line, missed all three of his catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts, and couldn’t buy a whistle on a few drives to the rim. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Grades: Starters struggle against Kings

Pacers Summer League Grades: Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte lead the way

The Indiana Pacers looked very fun in their first game in Las Vegas Summer League as they beat the Charlotte Hornets 96-84 behind stellar performances from their rookie Bennedict Mathurin and second-year player Chris Duarte.

As always, remember this is Summer League. The results of the games don’t matter but some of the details can tell us a lot about these players, many of which will be on the Pacers roster during the regular season. That being said, the Summer Pacers look like Vegas contenders so let’s add some meaningless grades to these semi-meaningless games.

Bennedict Mathurin: Grade A-

Mathurin looked good in his debut for the blue and gold. He led all players with 23 points (9 of 16 from the field) and added four rebounds and a steal to his tally. Mathurin started off strong hitting a 3-pointer to open the game on a beautifully run Spain pick and roll by the Pacers. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Grades: Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte lead the way

Possible effects of Jalen Smith being a starter for the Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers held a press conference for the re-signing of Jalen Smith yesterday with much pomp and circumstance as team employees clapped and cheered at every opportunity for some added flair and energy to the events.

The biggest news to come from it is that Smith, who averaged 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in just under 25 minutes per game with the Pacers, will be the team’s starting power forward next season which came straight from the mouth of the head coach, Rick Carlisle.

Details of the contract were reported by Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Originally reported as a 2-year deal when news broke of his re-signing by multiple outlets, Agness says the deal was tweaked over the last few days and it is now a 3-year contract with a player option on the third season. The first season in the deal will start at $4.67 million, which is what the Pacers were limited to offering due to the Suns declining his team option of the same amount. Continue reading Possible effects of Jalen Smith being a starter for the Indiana Pacers