Indianapolis – The Pacers opened their first two home games in the pre-season with a victory over the Knicks, who lost to them last week, 109-100. Perhaps most encouragingly, the rookies dominated in the long run. Here are three notes.
A bright future was likely on offer
4 minutes before the end of the match, coach Rick Carlisle left the match in the hands of the children. Andrew Nimbard, who played more because Therese Halliburton had lower back pain, carried out the attack. Benedict Mathurin, who had already shown a willingness to embrace the spotlight, was on the court as well.
Nimbard remained alert and did not force anything and buried three crucial players for 8 points in the final minutes. Mathurin scored a landslide victory with a cheerful windmill for the fans and finished the match with 27 points.
For a night, it looked like he was supposed to go to the Pacers.
Even in a young team, TJ McConnell can save energy
The veteran goalkeeper started his first pre-season game on Wednesday with Halliburton’s exit. The Pacers scored their first basket in response to Miles Turner which came after McConnell parried his defense by pushing him into the basket. When New York entered the ball, McConnell stayed behind and chased after Galen Bronson trying to bring the ball onto the field.
McConnell did the same in the second quarter and imposed an 8-second violation. Minutes later, he drilled a triple pointer that timed out the Knicks. At one point, forward Julius Randle, who is 7 inches tall, dared Bronson to throw her into high position. McConnell jumped high enough to flip the pass and put in a quick shot for Buddy Heald. McConnell finished with 5 points and 6 assists.
That’s what McConnell did in all of the matches: Push the pace and play the play, even when it didn’t seem like there was one to do. He and Halliburton embody something of the opposite of the common perception of a relatively inexperienced veteran player. Haliburton is a systematic, smooth and always controlled earth year. McConnell has the ability to disable, get out, and escape. With athletes like Mathurin and Isaiah Jackson, McConnell will have plenty of options on the break.
The formations are still liquid
The starting lineup is set. With the exception of Wednesday, Haliburton, Myles Turner, Hield, Chris Duarte and Jalen Smith opened every game. Halliburton’s absence created chances for different groups as the match went on. The first substitutions led to an unusual small ball lineup as Usha Brissett and Jackson entered for Turner and Smith. Kendall Brown also saw the floor in the first half, something that didn’t happen in the season opener in Charlotte. His fellow rookie Nimbard played 26 minutes.
Based on three pre-season games, it appears that the substitutes who will play the most are Mathurin, Jackson and McConnell. All three appeared in the lineup with the starters and rotated regularly. And players like Brown and Terry Taylor seem to be on the sidelines even more.
Pacers 109, Knicks 100
New York (100): Barrett 7-14 6-7 21, Rundle 5-10 0-0 13, Robinson 3-5 2-2 8, Bronson 4-14 2-4 11, Fournier 3-9 0-0 8, Tobin 4-7 0-0 8, Hartenstein 2-4 2-2 7, Reddish 3-10 3-4 10, Sims 0-0 0-0 0, McBride 1-6 0-0 2, Quikley 4-18 2-3 12. Total 36-97 17-22100.
Indiana (109): Hield 3-10 0-2 7, Smith 4-7 0-1 9, Turner 3-7 4-4 10, Duarte 6-11 0-2 13, McConnell 2-9 0-0 5, Jackson 4-6 0-0 8, Petadze 3-3 0-0 8, Brown 0-2 0-0 0, Mathurin 8-13 11-12 27, Brisset 0-3 2-2 2, Nimbard 6-12 1-1 15, Taylor 2-3 0-0 5. Total 41-86 18-24109.
New York 33 21 25 21-100 Indiana 23 25 29 32-109
3-point goals – New York 11-41 (Randell 3-6, Fournier 2-5, Quikley 2-7, Bronson 1-3, Hartenstein 1-3, Barrett 1-5, Reddish 1-6, McBride 0-3, Tobin 0-3), Indiana 9-30 (Petadze 2-2, Nymbard 2-4, McConnell 1-2, Smith 1-2, Taylor 1-2, Duarte 1-3, Heald 1-7, Mathurin 0-2 , Brisset 0-3, Turner 0-3). Fouled Out_New York Plas, Indiana 1 (Mathurine). Rebounds New York 49 (Harttenstein 10), Indiana 49 (Breast 8). Assists in New York 24 (Harttenstein, Rundle 5), Indiana 26 (Nimbard 9). Total errors in New York 24, Indiana 26. A_7,081 (20,000)