Indiana Pacers: Team is victorious in preseason opener vs Hornets
The Indiana Pacers get their first win of the season against the Charlotte Hornets and there are some interesting takeaways from game one of the preseason.
The Indiana Pacers get their first win of the season against the Charlotte Hornets and there are some interesting takeaways from game one of the preseason. After losing all four games to the Hornets last season, it was redeeming for this young team to take care of business and not lose another game by a margin of one.
The Indiana Pacers win big against the Hornets
Myles Turner was off to a hot start with the team’s first 4 points, one of which was assisted by Haliburton. Myles Turner looked comfortable in his new role and led the team in scoring with 12 points at the break. Chris Duarte was the only other Pacer to have 10 or more points in the half.
Some timing issues led to a few missed opportunities for Tyrese Haliburton as his first quarter was underwhelming in a sense. He didn’t score, which wasn’t a huge issue since the team was leading for most of the quarter and the game. He finished with just five points and six assists in 22 minutes.
Hopefully, this was a rust game for the Pacers’ face of the franchise, but I don’t put much merit into one preseason game. The team won and we got to see a lot of different lineups, which was fun. I thought Bennedict Mathurin looked better than his future backcourt partner tonight, but again it is just preseason game number one.
Chris Duarte’s game must be a stress relief for Rick Carlisle. Duarte is playing quality minutes despite some lapses on the defensive end which will only improve. He was great at attacking the basket and finishing as he scored 12 points on four made shots.
Indiana led the first quarter as Carlisle went with the second unit of Mathurin, T.J. McConnell, Aaron Nesmith, Turner, and Terry Taylor.
Aaron Nesmith’s active hands forced an 8-second violation on Charlotte, which he was thrilled about. It was an impressive opening in comparison to his summer league debut with the team. Now, he has been with the team for an extended period of time. He had a fantastic third quarter, getting out in transition for an easy slam was a highlight.
Nesmith finished the game with 16 points which led the team. He went 4/8 from the field and grabbed four rebounds. A great game on both sides of the ball.
Let’s talk about Bennedict Mathurin. What an opening for the Indiana Pacers’ sixth draft pick, he was confident, calm, and made tough shots around the rim. He struggled from behind the arc but wasn’t shy in taking those shots which I enjoyed seeing. Remember Victor Oladipo’s pull-up skill set?
The Pacers have missed a lead guy who isn’t afraid to take the ball and score, and I saw some of those tendencies from Mathurin — no hesitation in shooting the ball. Not to say after one preseason game that Mathurin is to be compared to Oladipo, but this is a guy that the Pacers would certainly like to reach a similar status in his Pacers tenure.
Mathurin was great in his 19 minutes of play. He had 15 points on 10-shot attempts, making five of them along with five free throws. His 10 shots were the second most of the team, behind Jalen Smith who shot 11. The confidence was evident for the rookie, who was driving, lobbing, and pulling from three without hesitation.
T.J. McConnel was everywhere on the court as per usual. He had six points and six assists in 13 minutes of play. It was good to see him back on the floor with this young group and pushing the tempo. He provides a nice boost of energy for the second unit as they brought the Pacers’ lead to 38-20 before subbing out.
Now, McConnell wasn’t the only backup point guard to provide quality minutes. Andrew Nembhard entered the game for the fourth quarter and played as well as you could ask from your rookie. Making four of his eight shots for eight points and no turnovers were great to see after not playing any minutes until quarter four.
Fun fact: Andrew Nembhard, Kendall Brown, and Bennedict Mathurin all shared minutes during the fourth quarter.
Isaiah Jackson with a heck of a third quarter, scoring 11 points with a number of blocked shots. He finished with 15 minutes of game time and 13 points in the span (5/8). He also had six rebounds and four blocks, ousting Myles Turner who had two.
Jackson showed more of his athleticism which is game-changing for the Indiana Pacers roster. He can get a second jump faster than anyone in the league and makes people pay for a lack of effort around the rim. He only played 15 minutes and didn’t need to play any more than that — enough seen, let’s stay healthy through the preseason.
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