Myles Turner has missed the Indiana Pacers last three games with an elbow injury and today the team gave more information about the injury.
The Indiana Pacers were down 34-12 at the end of the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
We all should have known at this point what would happen next.
The Pacers came back to defeat LeBron James and the Cavaliers behind a spark from Bankers Life Fieldhouse’s own court jester, Lance Stephenson, and yet another big shot from Victor Oladipo.
The Indiana Pacers will sign Ben Moore, an undrafted rookie from SMU, to a 2-way contract according to multiple reports.
Moore has been playing with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and spent the off-season with the Pacers in Summer League and in training camp.
“He’s really impressed everybody that’s in this gym,” Kevin Pritchard said of Moore on media day. “We think he can be an NBA player, NBA defender first and then if he can improve his shooting he can be a Bruce Bowen-type.”
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote on Moore during the draft season as a potential undrafted success story, seeing him as the type of defender that could defend any position on the switch.
He’s had some good moments in Fort Wayne this year while averaging 11 points and 6.6 rebounds in 28 minutes.
He scored 28 points in the game above and multiple highlights show his defensive prowess with quick hands swiping the ball away from opponents as they go up to shoot.
With the 2-way contract, Moore will still spend most of his time with the Mad Ants but will able to spend a limited amount of days with the NBA team as well. The Pacers still have one open roster spot after waiving Damien Wilkins.
The Indiana Pacers have announced that they have waived 37-year-old forward Damien Wilkins. His contract would have been fully guaranteed for the remainder of the season today if he was not waived.
Wilkins, who was called Wisdom by his teammates, started the game in last night’s win against the Chicago Bulls and had the best game of his brief Pacers career with 11 points, including three made 3-pointers.
Wilkins was a feel good story of a 37 year old that had battled his way back to the NBA after being out of the league for four years.
Wilkins, oddly enough, knew he was going to be waived at 2 p.m. yesterday according to Pacers.com’s Mark Montieth and then found out a few hours later that he would be starting that night with Bojan Bogdanovic out due to injury.
“Turned out to be a great night for my team and for me personally,” Wilkins told reporters today. “It was amazing. I didn’t want the game to end. I just wanted to keep playing.”
“I’m a fighter,” Wilkins said. “Always have been. Always will be. It’s the foundation of my life and my career.”
Wilkins said he was proud of the impact he made on some guys on the roster, mentioning specifically going out to dinner a few days ago with Myles Turner and them both getting things off their chest.
“He doesn’t know it, but I look up to him,” Wilkins said of Turner. “He’s an awesome teammate. Great young talent and I was glad I was able to connect with him and influence something.”
The Pacers now have an open roster spot and an open 2-way spot after signing Alex Poythress to an NBA deal for the remainder of the season.
In other unconnected roster news (Pacers didn’t have to waive Wilkins because of this), Glenn Robinson III returned to practice today for the first time since training camp. Robinson said that he hopes to be back before the All-Star break and is ahead of schedule on his return from injury.
“I think that every day it’s getting better,” said Robinson after today’s practice. “I’m working through some aches and some expected soreness, but every day I’m feeling better.”
The NBA announced the current standings of the All-Star fan voting and Indiana Pacers star shooting guard is currently in third for his position.
Oladipo trails DeMar DeRozan by less than 8,000 votes.
There are many different ways to vote including on social media sites using #NBAVote or using the NBA app or website. Voting ends on January 15th.
The Indiana Pacers have lost three straight games as Victor Oladipo has missed the last two and head into the New Year on a bit of a down note on what has otherwise been a terrific start to the season. Everybody has something to improve on, however, so in the spirit of New Year’s, here’s part one of resolutions for each of the Pacers for the remainder of the season.
Part two coming soon. (Now available)
Myles Turner: Use the fadeaway in the post sparingly when faced with a mismatch
Myles is the league-leading shot blocker and perhaps as a victim of high expectations hasn’t had the start to the season than many were hoping for. That being said, he’s averaging 14.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks with a usage rate that is lower than his rookie season. He’s still just not a featured part of the offense on most nights but he’s putting up solid numbers with efficiency.
One area that he can definitely look to improve on is taking advantage of mismatches in the post. Too often, Turner tends to fade away when matched with a smaller player instead of taking advantage of his height. Here’s an example from the Mavs game with Harrison Barnes guarding him.
Turner has shown improvement in this area and has gone straight up more often of late as was the case with a couple of chances with Gary Harris on him in the post against the Denver Nuggets switching scheme, but he still has a tendency to fade more often than not.
This play is exactly how you want to see Turner take advantage of the mismatch. He doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be in the post all the time (or even most of the time) with that smooth jump shot, but the more he improves with someone smaller on him, the less likely teams will even consider switching on the pick and roll.
Turner’s also gone away from his no-dribble turnaround shot in the post, which has always been very effective since his rookie year. Even just going straight up is preferable to the fade as most of the smaller players won’t have any shot at blocking the high-release attempt and it has a higher chance of getting a foul call as well.
When I asked Turner about a one-leg, Dirk fadeaway that he used in the first game against the Bulls, he said, “I don’t want to always settle for that, but it’s a move that I know is tough to guard.” So Turner knows that fading shouldn’t be something he does every time. Hopefully it starts to become like junk food at the top of the old food pyramid and is used sparingly.
The Dirk fadeaway in discussion was against Robin Lopez and not a smaller player.
Bojan Bogdanovic: Let yourself be fouled in late-game situations.
Please. Bogdanovic is shooting 84% from the free-throw line this season, but didn’t seem to want to be fouled in the closing seconds against Boston with that inexplicable high pass that was stolen by Terry Rozier. He almost dribbled into a turnover earlier this season in a similar scenario, but was given a foul call. If the Croatian Mercenary is going to play in the game’s final moments, he has to be willing to take those fouls.
Lance Stephenson: Keep the ball moving.
This has always been one of the things that I’ve disliked about Stephenson’s game even during his first tenure with Indiana. When the ball gets swung in his direction, he almost always ball fakes to no effect and gives the defense a chance to reset before making a decision. More often than not, the right play is just an immediate pass to the next man on the perimeter. Here’s an example of Stephenson doing this here, though Oladipo is still able to hit the 3-pointer as the Thunder don’t recover with the extra time Lance allowed them with the unnecessary fake.
Stephenson’s done far more good for the Pacers than bad this year, especially while being a big part of sparking some huge comebacks at home and getting the crowd amped up on a nightly basis, but a few quick swings per game would go a long way for the offense that sometimes doesn’t move the ball as much as it should.
Bonus resolution for Born Ready: Find his shooting stroke on the road. Before the game against the Chicago Bulls where Stephenson made two of his five 3-point attempts, he was shooting only 17% from deep. At Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, he’s shooting 38%.
Darren Collison: Don’t settle for mid-range attempts when the opponent switches on the pick and roll
Collison had a terrific offensive game against the Bulls, scoring 30 points on just 16 shot attempts. One area where the point guard could get more movement into the offense is any time the opposing team is switching in the pick and roll. Collison with a big man on him is reluctant to try a pass into the post over the taller player and instead most of the time ends up taking a contested mid-range attempt.
This happens so often that many times Turner doesn’t even look to post up when Collison is the ball handler in a switched pick and roll, because he knows what he’s likely to do more times than not.
The Pacers have also started having Turner post on the opposite side so Collison can swing it to the next guy on the perimeter and allow that man to make the post-entry pass that DC doesn’t make very often with the taller man defending him. You can see Turner going to post up on the opposite end on the previous video. The problem is that this allows the opposing team to switch the point guard off of Turner and get at least a slightly bigger player on him, which you can also see happen on the play above as well, and it takes more time to accomplish.
Collison is shooting well from the mid-range in certain areas, but oddly the area that he takes the most attempts in the mid-range is where he shoots by far the worst percentage. From the right elbow to the 3-point line, Collison is shooting a dismal 25.7% on 35 attempts. In all other spots from 15-feet to the 3-point line, Collison is shooting a very good 53.6% on 56 attempts. If DC is going to take those type of shots, he has to start shooting more often in the areas that he’s been far more successful in. It’s very rare to see him take the opposing big to the rim as well, which could open up shots for others if he forces the defense to help as well.
TJ Leaf: Stay confident, grow in team defensive concepts.
Nate McMillan recently said that there aren’t really any expectations for TJ Leaf in his first season they just want him to get some experience on the court.
“We know that he can score the ball,” McMillan said about Leaf after practice. “We want to see him defend and continue to work on, certainly scoring, but really his first year is about just playing. There’s no pressure, no expectations, other than getting out there to play.”
The problem lately has been that Leaf hasn’t seen much or any playing time. Alex Poythress has gotten the most recent chance at the backup four minutes and when Glenn Robinson III comes back, it may likely be Bojan Bogdanovic playing some extra minutes as the backup power forward.
Leaf was a very confident rookie to start the season and will need to remain so even while he’s likely to sit the bench. Learning more about how to be a better defender will be the biggest thing he can do to help himself earn more minutes when his opportunities do come. Maybe sit next to Pacers defensive assistant coach Dan Burke on the bench every night.
McMillan praised his attitude recently when he went down to the G-League and played well.
“We do respect that,” McMillan said of Leaf’s mindset of wanting to do whatever is best for him. “Some guys feel they’re above (the G-League). His thing was, ‘It was good to play and get some minutes.’ … That’s what these guys love to do, is play basketball. That’s the purpose of sending him down there.”
Al Jefferson: Get a makeover.
Fortunately for the Pacers this season, Al Jefferson hasn’t been needed to play a whole lot. Hopefully that stays true in 2018. Turner and Oladipo both said that he was the one player on the team that most needed a makeover on the team. Big Al needs some new style.
Joe Young: Stay committed to the role of pesky, full-court defender
Young has embraced being the annoying, pesky defender that guards the opposing point guard the entire length of the court and it’s resulted in the occasional forced turnover. His minutes are likely to remain sporadic barring any injury and this is the easiest way for him to make an impact as he’s not going to be looked at as a primary scoring option when he plays.
Young has added a few points in the last two games (6 and 7 points respectively), but for him to continue playing in the league, he’ll have to up his defensive game. He’s got the right attitude and you know a guy that sleeps on the practice court is going to work hard.
Damien Wilkins: Don’t get your LaVar Ball on.
Old Man Wilkins just found out that he was having his third son as he was surprised by a gender reveal during the Pacers/Mavericks game.
Please, no. We don’t want or need another LaVar Ball. We didn’t need the first one.
It’s early in Kevin Pritchard’s tenure as the President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers, but things couldn’t have gone much better over his first seven months considering the hand he was dealt shortly after he took over for Larry Bird.
In the summer, it didn’t look like it was going well to most outside the Pacers organization.
Originally, Pritchard’s plan was to build around Paul George and create a contender that would entice George to remain in Indiana. George seemed willing to let Pritchard try until about a week before the draft and the beginning of the off-season when he had a change of heart and told the Pacers organization that he would not re-sign with the team.
“We had multiple conversations, we talked about players we wanted to add to this team, and it felt like we were in agreement on that,” Pritchard said after the draft. “Not that a player dictates that, but I wanted him to (give) some feedback. We had conversations about players and how we want to go forward. So, for me it was a shock.”
One week before the off-season and all of the Pacers plans were for naught. That gut punch made for a unenviable scenario for Indiana as they quickly turned their focus to creating a completely new plan.
“It couldn’t have come at a worse time for me,” Pritchard said after the draft. “Had we known this a while ago we could have been more prepared. And then the way it got out… we struggled with that.”
Pritchard was unable to find a deal to his liking during the draft and preached patience on waiting for the right deal to materialize even as George’s agent was making it clear to all potential teams that he wanted to be in Los Angeles. Pritchard found the deal he was looking for with Oklahoma City Thunder, but no one seemed to agree that he made the right call.
The return for Paul George of Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, and no draft picks was laughed at and mocked without mercy by nearly all from police departments, fans, media, even other teams. (Myself included in the puzzled-over-Pritchard’s-decision camp to choose this deal and not one that included Gary Harris from Denver in a 3-team deal with Cleveland or waiting for Boston to know whether they would sign Gordon Hayward and trying to snag that juicy Nets pick that would only be in the late lottery if the season ended today.)
No one is laughing now. Except the Pacers.
Pritchard has put together a team that plays hard every night, is more fun than ever and has chemistry that usually takes teams years of playing together to develop.
“My teammates are phenomenal people,” said Oladipo. “When you surround yourself with people that care about you, chemistry comes natural. It’s a special locker room.”
None have been more important to this team transformation than Victor Oladipo, who leads by example, cares for his teammates immensely, and has hit big shot after big shot in the clutch for the Pacers so far this season.
It’s likely that Oladipo makes an All-Star team this season, while George probably does not. Not many would have predicted that when the trade was announced this summer.
“He should be an All-Star starter,” Darren Collison said after a recent practice. “I think he deserves it. Since day one, he’s been the leader that we’ve asked him to be.”
And Sabonis has been a big part of the Pacers emerging chemistry as the guy that seemingly everyone loves to play with.
But the deal that netted the Pacers two key pieces for their bright future is only one move that Pritchard made this off-season. He’s looked to have hit on just about every transaction to this point including signing Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic and trading for Cory Joseph.
In total five of the eight players that play the most minutes for the Pacers were added by Pritchard this off-season and another (Thaddeus Young) was widely looked at as someone they should have looked to trade away after the George news instead of keep around.
Instead of being a lottery-bound league bottom feeder that many expected coming into the season, the Pacers sit at 19-14, good for 4th in the Eastern Conference, and have been a much improved team from last year’s version.
The Pacers looked for players that had the following traits in the George deal and seemed to have carried that over into their free agency moves as well: motivated, toughness, hardworking, togetherness, unselfishness, intelligence, athleticism and chemistry.
““It’s chemistry,” said Lance Stephenson after the Nuggets game, “sticking together and believing in one another. We’re bringing it every night. … There’s no hate. You know what I mean? Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants their teammates to do good. I feel like that makes this team even better.”
Resilient is another word that should have been added to the list as the Pacers come from behind seemingly every game, especially at home.
The only question so far for Pritchard is how his draft picks of TJ Leaf and Ike Anibogu will turn out, but neither player is even 20 years old yet and it’s too early to jump to any conclusions about them this early in their careers.
“We know that he can score the ball,” McMillan said about Leaf after practice. “We want to see him defend and continue to work on, certainly scoring, but really his first year is about just playing. There’s no pressure, no expectations, other than getting out there to play.”
A big difference between Bird and Pritchard’s style in recent off-seasons is the lack of long-term deals that Pritchard handed out.
Both guys spent most of the cap space that they had available nearly every year, but Bird’s long-term bets in consecutive years on the likes of Rodney Stuckey, Monta Ellis, Al Jefferson not only didn’t work out in the immediate sense but gave the Pacers less wiggle room in following off-seasons to improve the roster.
The Pacers will now still be paying Monta Ellis, who was waived in the off-season using the stretch provision, when the NBA All-Star game makes it long-awaited return to Indianapolis in 2021, and neither Ellis or Stuckey have even found a team willing to sign them at all since they were waived by the Pacers. They aren’t the only players from the 2016-17 roster that are now out of the NBA: Lavoy Allen, Kevin Seraphin, Rakeem Christmas, and Georges Niang.
Pritchard, however, kept the team’s future cap space open while going after overlooked veterans that would take short-term deals with partial guarantees in the final year of the contract.
Collison and Bogdanovic both are making about $10 million this season and at this point look likely to complete their 2-year deals next season with the team, but if they didn’t pan out Indiana could have cut the cord with little cost to their salary cap for next season as the second years had a very small portion of guaranteed money. These contracts also could be used as potential trade sweeteners for teams looking to shed salary to make room in FA for a max contract slot.
Right now, it doesn’t seem like these fail-safe options will be necessary, but Pritchard put the organization in good position either way.
The challenge will eventually become what to do with many of the team’s current players as their contracts end either this summer or the next, including Joseph, Collison, Bogdanovic, Young and Glenn Robinson III, but so far Pritchard has been the gift that keeps on giving for the Indiana Pacers.
You’ve heard this story before.
The Indiana Pacers start off the game slow, let the opposing team get a lead around 20 points. Then, suddenly, usually sparked by something mildly insane that Lance Stephenson did or a pull-up 3-pointer by Victor Oladipo, the Pacers look like a different team and go on a huge run. The atmosphere is intense. The Banker’s Life Fieldhouse crowd is going crazy. They end up winning by late heroics from Oladipo as he points down to the court, letting everyone know, “This is My City. This is Our House.”
Tonight, the comeback came against the Brooklyn Nets as the Pacers improved to 19-14 on the season and 3-0 against the Nets as they sit in 4th in the Eastern Conference.
Per Pat Boylan, the Pacers have been down by double digits in six of their last seven home games and by at least 16 points in five of those seven home games. Despite this, the Pacers won four of the seven and had a chance in the fourth quarter at winning every one of them.
Alex Poythress signed the new 2-way deal this off-season with the Indiana Pacers. This new type of contract allows the Pacers to retain his rights while primarily keeping a player with their G-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
The Pacers also still have 15 NBA roster spots available, so 2-ways don’t count against the actual roster count. The player can also spend up to 45 days with the NBA squad.
Poythress, to this point in the season, has spent very little time in Fort Wayne. He’s played in only six of the team’s first 17 games while averaging 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2.7 assists with the Mad Ants.
Kevin Pritchard has to be feeling pretty good right about now.
The trade that everyone said was terrible over the summer just keeps looking better and better for the Indiana Pacers.
Victor Oladipo looks like a superstar. And the Pacers got Domantas Sabonis, who has looked like another building block for Indiana. The Pacers are incredibly fun and their chemistry is unreal.
With 3:51 remaining in the game, the Indiana Pacers were down by eight points as Nate McMillan called timeout and went to a lineup that had played only a single minute together all season: Victor Oladipo, Lance Stephenson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner.
“Nate called a timeout,” said Oladipo, who was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season, “and all I said was, ‘There’s a lot of time left. We just gotta take it one possession at a time,’ and we did a great job.”
Almost no previous time together. No point guard. No problem. Oladipo took care of the offense to the tune of 47 points and the defense took care of the rest down the stretch.
INDIANAPOLIS–Behind Victor Oladipo’s career-high 47 points, the Indiana Pacers made yet another comeback victory against the Denver Nuggets to win in overtime by a final score of 126-116.
The Pacers started the game down 18-6. The Nuggets pushed that lead to 19 with 6:13 remaining in the first half.
It didn’t matter. The Pacers fought back and led at the end of the third quarter 90-88.
The Nuggets led by eight points with just 2:54 left.
It didn’t matter. Oladipo took over the rest of the way, taking advantage of the Nuggets switching defense to get whatever match-up he wanted.
“I was just trying to make the right play down the stretch. There were still some plays where I felt that I could have done a better job. I missed some layups, I missed some threes, missed two free throws, so there’s obviously room to improve. So I just gotta continue to keep getting better and take it one day at a time.”
Putting Oladipo’s humility aside, he was incredible down the stretch as he brought the Pacers back. Starting from 2:39 here’s what Oladipo did possession by possession to get the Pacers into overtime:
2:39: 12-foot pull up. Pacers down six.
1:32: Driving layup. Pacers down four.
0:55.1: Driving layup. Pacers down two.
0:26.6: Missed pull up 3-pointer (almost identical to the shot he hit against the Chicago Bulls), but Pacers ball out of bounds as Thaddeus Young fights for the offensive rebound.
0:5.9: Missed layup on a no-call, but draws the help defender as Young is in the right place at the right time to tip in it with ease to send the game into overtime.
“I just basically fed off of Victor’s play,” said Young, who added 18 points on efficient 8-of-11 shooting. “He drove to the basket, got guys to bite and commit and I was just basically in position to get the rebound.”
In the final three minutes plus overtime, Oladipo scored 14 of the Pacers final 22 points to lead the Pacers to their fourth consecutive home victory in this 6-game homestand.
“This is what we were hoping to develop,” said Nate McMillan of Oladio. “This type of player that in the future will be a franchise player.”
None of Oladipo’s heroics would have mattered without superb defense down the stretch that held the Nuggets scoreless for nearly eight minutes from the end of regulation through overtime. The Pacers ended the game on a 21-2 run.
“We started to get back to Pacers basketball,” said Young, “which is pressuring up and getting into guys … On the defensive end, we were aggressive and forcing a lot of pressure.”
“We held them to two points in overtime,” said Oladipo, who also added seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block. “That’s why we won the game.”
The legend of Oladipo continues to grow at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse as the player that two teams gave up on has found his home in Indianapolis.
“Opportunity. The players in this locker room,” Oladipo said when asked what the difference has been for him in Indiana compared to other places. “They’re phenomenal obviously. Playing with these guys make things so much easier for me. … It’s amazing how guys in this locker room lift each other up. It’s amazing what the guys in this locker room are capable of. Like I said before, it’s an honor and a blessing to be able to play with these guys night in and night out.”
The Pacers chemistry is a sight to behold, and it all starts with their leader.
“He’s such a pleasure to work with,” said McMillan, “… The kid just brings such a positive attitude to the locker room and to the game. He’s playing with a great deal of confidence and with people like that good things are going to happen to them. He’s going about this the right way, comes in works on his game and he is all about the team.”
The Pacers have now won 10 of their last 13 games to get to a record of 16-11.
“It’s chemistry,” said Lance Stephenson, who sparked the Pacers run in the second quarter after they were down 19, “Sticking together and believing in one another. We’re bringing it every night. … There’s no hate. You know what I mean? Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants their teammates to do good. I feel like that makes this team even better.”
The Pacers run in the second quarter was sparked by the Pacers everlasting energy of Stephenson, who scored or assisted on six straight Pacers possessions. Indiana scored on 10 of their last 12 possessions of the first half to cut the Nuggets lead to seven at halftime.
Myles Turner quietly put up 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. He took advantage of small guys in the post as the Nuggets switched nearly every pick and roll. He capped off the night with a Dirk Nowitzki one-leg fadeaway impression that Oladipo says Myles works on “all the time.”
Oladipo’s 47 points is tied for the 5th-highest scoring game in Pacers franchise history. Four points higher than the career high of Paul George, but Oladipo is tired of all the George talk.
“I’m kind of getting sick and tired of the comparisons of Paul George and myself,” said Oladipo after the game. “He moved on. I moved on … I wish him all the best. I’m feathery right here as a Pacer. … I’m just grateful and honored to put on that jersey every night to play in front of those fans.”
The crowd was loving every minute of Oladipo’s performance, showering him with MVP chants late in the game.
“It was incredible,” Oladipo said of the atmosphere of the game. “Amazing. These fans are incredible. It’s like I never left.”
The Pacers next game is against the man who left in George and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
This article was originally posted on IndySportsLegends.com
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
The Indiana Pacers had no business winning this game.
In the first half, the Pacers were outscored 55-39 and couldn’t buy a stop for much of the second half as the Chicago Bulls (3-19) shot 62% in the third quarter.
The Pacers came out “lackadaiscal” to begin the game according to Myles Turner. Continue reading Behind Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacers have the will to win
The Indiana Pacers made quick work of the Porzingis-less New York Knicks.
Really all you need to know is in this video: Continue reading Lance Stephenson makes Knicks rookie dance
Myles Turner has scored at least 15 points in each of his last four games while averaging just 11.8 shots per game. He continues to be efficient in his at times limited opportunities on offense. But with high expectations coming into this season, grumbling about Turner has reached an all-time high.
This is the second part of a column taking on the hot takes of Myles Turner. If you missed the first part, you can read about his offensive game here.
“Myles Turner is not a true big man” is quickly becoming this team’s “George Hill is not a true point guard.” Both claims pointless, perplexing and frustrating to see about players that add tremendous value to their team while playing their position in perhaps a non-traditional way. Continue reading Hot-Takebuster Part Two: Myles Turner’s Rebounding & Defense
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 (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.
After a well-played first half, the Indiana Pacers were up nine on the best team in the East, the Boston Celtics.
Then the third quarter happened. The Celtics won the quarter 37-16 and were suddenly up 12 entering the final quarter. Continue reading Two-Ahh: Pacers lose to Celtics behind 37-16 third quarter
Has a crowd in Indianapolis ever been that loud for a regular season game in November?
Only Lance Stephenson can cause this much commotion in downtown Indianapolis. Continue reading Lance Stephenson continues to get everyone hype