Pacers Summer League: Slow start, Chris Duarte sits and Keegan Murray leads Kings to win
The game was headlined by Murray and Mathurin, two 2022 lottery picks. The Pacers fell behind early and turned it over 17 times, yet still had a chance to win.
LAS VEGAS — The Pacers and Kings got a busy eight-game schedule started Sunday at noon local time. More of their games over the years have traditionally been inside Cox Pavilion, the auxiliary gym that is attached to the Thomas & Mack Center.
It’s a more intimate setting. It’s for real hoop heads.
“That’s what I was telling some of the guys during warmups,” said second-year center Isaiah Jackson. “I like this gym way more because it’s more compact. It feels like an AAU tournament, an early-morning game. We’re just coming here to hoop instead of being in the big arena.”
But because of the talent on the Pacers’ roster, including seven core guys, all but this one are scheduled to be inside Thomas & Mack.
For more than a decade, the Pacers had always went to Orlando for summer league. About a half-dozen teams and no fans in the stands. Just teams, agents and media were allowed.
Former team president Larry Bird appreciated the low-key feel and focus being solely on basketball, but then the NBA pushed for all 30 teams to play in Las Vegas in 2018, so here we are. And after 16 summers, the Orlando summer league ended.
So at noon PST, the Pacers played in the first game of the day and the pavilion was surprisingly packed. Although it did feature picks 4 and 6 in the 2022 NBA Draft, Keegan Murray and Bennedict Mathurin.
Murray scored a game-high 23 points. It felt like a very quiet 23 points, but that's on brand. He shot 7 of 16, including four shots from range. Meanwhile, Mathurin had 15 points and three rebounds in 28 minutes.
The Kings took an early double-digit lead and led by eight points at the end of the first quarter. The Pacers led by 1 entering the fourth quarter, were up by six with five minutes left before the Kings pulled away for a win, 103-96.