The Indiana Pacers were down by 17 with 9:59 remaining in the fourth quarter. Many people likely decided it was no longer worth staying up late to watch and went to bed. Those weary faithful few, however, were rewarded with the best Pacers comeback victory yet that culminated with an Andrew Nembhard buzzer beating 3-pointer over LeBron James to give the Pacers a 116-115 win on the second night of their LA back-to-back.
It felt like the Pacers would keep climbing up to the peak but come up just short when a previous possession the Pacers had missed 3 straight chances at the rim with Nembhard missing a nifty reverse layup, Buddy Hield missing a tip in chance, and then Bennedict Mathurin also missing one. Each teetering on the rim more the last but each one falling off. To add insult to injury, the Pacers were called for a foul after the final miss and sent Anthony Davis to the free-throw line where he made just one of two and left the door open for the Pacers game winner.
With those 10 minutes left, the Pacers played hard until the buzzer sounded and the clock matched their young backcourt duo’s jersey numbers at 0:00 as Nembhard’s triple splashed through the net with the red lights on and the entire team plus Kevin Pritchard came rushing onto the court to celebrate. 8 of the Pacers 12 wins have been games that they have come back from double-digit deficits.
It was the Pacers first buzzer beater game winner since Solomon Hill had a tip in winner in Lance Stephenson’s first game in Indiana as a member of the Charlotte Hornets in 2014.
1. Welcome back, Andrew Nembhard. May you never leave us again.
What a way to return from a 5-game absence. The game winning triple will be one of the top highlights of his rookie season and perhaps his likely to be long career but he was making plays throughout the game on both ends. His quirky, yet ultra fast release to even allow him to get the shot off was a feat in itself but to splash it in, nothing but net, on the road was a thing of beauty. The most impressive aspect of his game was his defense. He spent a lot of time guarding LeBron James and even while giving up size to the all-time great, Nembhard made things tough for James, who started off with a quick 10 points but finished with just 21 points on 22 shots after he seemed less mobile once he hurt his ankle in the first quarter. Caitlin Cooper did a fantastic job as always of covering the nuances of what makes Nembhard special on the defensive end.
The Indiana Pacers are over .500. The Indiana Pacers have a winning record. The Indiana Pacers have won six of their last eight games and sit at 6th in the Eastern Conference standings. These are not things that I expected to write this season.
The Pacers (7-6) ended a 6-game losing streak in Charlotte in the regular season and made their second straight double-digit comeback to win by a final score of 125-113. The Pacers are set up to have every opportunity to continue their hot start as they have the Rockets on Friday and the Magic for two straight games after that.
1. The Pacers sliced up the Hornets’ drop coverage
For the entire second quarter, it felt as if the Indiana Pacers may never lose a game again as they dominated the Denver Nuggets 43-21 to take a 14-point lead into halftime. But alas, the wheels fell off for reasons to be discussed and the Nuggets came back from an 18-point lead to win by a final score of 122-119.
Despite the loss, this team continues to just bring a real joyous energy to the table. The ball moves around; they fly around the court. It’s going to take some time for these young guys to learn how to win with consistency but it’s a blast watching them learn these lessons. Let’s dive into the specifics for this one:
1. Benne. Dict. Energy.
This man is a rookie? Bennedict Mathurin has only played in 11 games?
This is the second time in his short career that his pull-up 3-pointing has made me audibly gasp and then he’ll do it another two times and my wife will have to rush into the room to make sure everything’s alright.
The Indiana Pacers (4-5) returned home to the fieldhouse after three days off with a win over the Miami Heat (4-6) by a final score of 101-99.
The Pacers defense played well as they held the Heat to shooting just 38.3% overall and 28.2% from deep. It was a schedule win if there ever was one with the Pacers well-rested and the Heat coming off of a tight win the previous night against the Sacramento Kings and sitting Jimmy Butler out. As was said in ages past: Beat the Heat.
The offensive attack was well spread out: Buddy Hield with 25, Bennedict Mathurin with 23, Tyrese Haliburton with 22, and Myles Turner with 16 led the way. A balance even Thanos would be proud of.
1. Bennedict Mathurin lives at the free-throw line
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 #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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New pod! @TEastNBA is joined by ex-host Adam Friedman to overreact to the Pacers opening night loss to the Wizards:
-Turner's sudden injury -Mathurin and Haliburton shine -Big men struggles -Bench impact -Balancing shot totals
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:
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.
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.
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:
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→
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.
It was a quiet night for the Indiana Pacers on the opening day of the always entertaining NBA free agent frenzy. The biggest news for circle city squad was the announcement of the Summer League roster (well other than that the Pacers have finally shed Monta Ellis from their cap sheet and that Indiana’s free agent big man [redacted] remains unsigned).
As for the Summer League, the Pacers look like they’ll be putting out their best squad since they started coming to Las Vegas instead of Orlando for their exhibition games. The roster is highlighted by both of last season’s first-round picks in Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson, all three of this year’s picks in Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard, and Kendall Brown, and returning Pacers Terry Taylor and Duane Washington. Not to mention the two players who ended the season on 2-way contracts with the team in mixtape legend Gabe York and Nate Hinton. The head coach will be Butler legend Ronald Nored who seems destined to be the top dog on the sidelines for an NBA franchise at some point. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Preview→
Bennedict Mathurin didn’t hesitate when asked what the Indiana Pacers would be getting from him.
“My heart, man,” the 6th overall pick said on the ESPN broadcast after being selected. “They’re getting everything from me from the jump to the end.”
When watching Mathurin tape from Arizona this past season, his heart was evident. He plays with passion and celebrates with excitement on big plays whether by a teammate or himself. It feels safe to assume he loves the game.
As the highest Pacers draft pick since the late 1980s, that quality to go along with his work ethic and desire to improve are intangibles that added to his appeal as a top selection.
“I think one of the things that made the Pacers interested is that they feel like there’s an inferno burning inside this kid,” said Tommy Lloyd, Arizona’s head basketball coach during Mathurin’s sophomore season. “… He’s a super diligent guy. He really immersed himself in the process of becoming a great basketball player … he’s a self-starter and extremely motivated. I think his best days are ahead of him.” Continue reading His heart and everything else Bennedict Mathurin is bringing to the Indiana Pacers→