Running Thoughts: Aaron Nesmith has career game, helps Pacers complete fourth straight comeback
The Pacers have trailed by double digits in four straight games and still won. Aaron Nesmith scored the go-ahead point and helped hold off the Magic.
Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 114-113 win over the Orlando Magic Saturday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Both the Pacers and Magic will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back after winning the night before, the Pacers in Houston and the Magic in Chicago.
This is the first of two in a row against the Magic at The Fieldhouse. It’s one of three two-game series the Pacers have scheduled against the same team, and the only one at home.
I like the series — except when it causes a notable player to miss both games. In this case, it’s No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero, who is recovering from a left ankle sprain. He started the season well and he will be challenged by No. 6 pick Bennedict Mathurin for Rookie of the Year.
The Magic are without Indy product Gary Harris. He had left knee surgery before the season and returned on Friday. But playing on consecutive nights isn’t wise so he was held out and should play on Monday.
Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia), Markelle Fultz (left big toe fracture), Jonathan Isaac (left knee recovery), Mo Wagner (right foot sprain) also were out and Cole Anthony (right oblique tear) were also out.
Magic coach Jamahl Mosley was an assistant coach for Rick Carlisle in Dallas from 2014-21.
With the Indiana men's basketball team spending the night in Indy, then playing Miami (OH) Sunday afternoon at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, they attended the game as a team. And so did the RedHawks, who are coached by Butler grad and former IU staffer Travis Steele.
One of Nancy Leonard’s granddaughters, a student, works in the IU basketball office.
The Hagerstown Little League baseball team were the honorary group chosen to Rev It Up before tip-off.
The biggest question pregame was the status of guard Tyrese Haliburton, who exited Friday’s game with a right ankle injury. He woke up feeling better than expected, passed multiple tests and wanted to play. No signs of discomfort or pain during his usual routine.
The Magic surged ahead to a 10-1 start in less than two minutes. Let’s see how the Pacers respond this time. They managed just 10 first-quarter points last night in Houston.
Haliburton with seven points and two assists in his first stint of seven minutes.
Carlisle after the game: “In an NBA world where it’s pretty cool these days to sit out games, he did not want to hear about sitting out tonight. … We asked him multiple times, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?’ (And he said) ‘Absolutely, I feel great.’ … And there were no red flags to him playing.”
Many wasted possessions midway through the first. Four turnovers, one missed shot and two shots blocked. Pacers call timeout to regroup after the Magic scored eight in a row.
Mathurin drills a straight-on 3 as the quarter expired. And boy did they need that. It was a sluggish first 12 minutes. They were outscored, outrebounded, had more turnovers and were outplayed. They need to pick it up.
They’re down 28-22 after 1. Five turnovers and ZERO fast break points. Wow.
9:49 2Q: Carlisle is not happy with official Nick Buchert. Neither is T.J. McConnell. Oshae Brissett was called for traveling the last time down the floor. They then called timeout after giving up consecutive layups.
4:34: Another Pacers timeout after the Magic pulled ahead by 10 via an 11-2 run. Again, a lethargic half by the Pacers, who are shooting 37% and have 10 turnovers. They’re better than this.
They’re playing like they landed back in Indy after 2 a.m., which they did. That’s the nature of the job, and they cannot use it as an excuse.