'We get to light the beam tonight': Buddy Hield with a double-double and Pacers win over his former team: Running Thoughts
Hield came out motivated and had his most complete game of the season to help the Pacers fend off the Sacramento Kings in Sabonis' first return since being dealt.
Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 107-104 win over the Sacramento Kings Friday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Tyrese Haliburton and Daniel Theis are both good to go after both returned from injuries last night.
The Sacramento Kings arrived in Indy Thursday afternoon ahead of Game 4 of this seven-game road trip. Something that interests me: Over a nine-game stretch, six of the games are part of three series’ matchups where they play the same team in back-to-back games.
Former Pacers center Domantas Sabonis found out yesterday, in Indy, that he was voted an All-Star for the third time in four seasons.
And De’Aaron Fox, who has blossomed as the featured point guard, just missed out. And he’s unavailable for this one due to personal reasons. Davion Mitchell starts in his place.
Myles Turner’s family finally made it out of the Dallas winter storm and is courtside for the game, his second since signing a two-year extension.
I’m very disappointed in NBC Sports California. The announcers for the Kings’ telecast did not travel and are doing the game remotely. Their radio announcer, however, is here.
Rev It Up!: Ashley Nora, a local artist.
Just before tip-off, Myles Turner and Sabonis embrace. A big hug and smile before jumping to get this one started.
Really good start by Myles Turner with Sabonis. He won the tip, then held Domas scoreless (0 for 3) in the first 5+ minutes, making everything difficult around the basket. You could see him anticipating each move since they know each other so well.
6:47: Up by one, the Pacers subbed in Bennedict Mathurin and Daniel Theis for Hield and Turner. Mathurin scored on a reverse layup, then Theis added a dunk and a 3-pointer. He can match Sabonis’ physicality and give Turner a break. The other reserve bigs were told to stay ready, but the logjam got even worse with Theis’ return from injury.
It was a low-scoring quarter, a 28-27 lead for the Pacers. After being outscored in 11 of the last 12 first quarters, they’ve now won three in a row. Progress!
Buddy Hield postgame: “Obviously 0 [Haliburton] is back and the way he pushes the ball. No disrespect to none of our point guards, but he just brings a different aspect to our game. The way he pushes the ball, his passing ability and playmaking ability, and the way he can shoot it. When you run in transition, you don’t know what he’s going to do. He has this knack for making the right play and that’s what he’s been doing for us.”
Some good minutes for Trey Lyles, the Indy product from Tech High School who played at Kentucky. It’s his first year with the Kings, his fifth team in eight seasons.
5:47: Pacers with an offensive jolt, four 3-pointers in 1:28 for a 12-0 run and their first 10-point lead.
Three of those 3s were from Aaron Nesmith, who is coming off a 24-point game last night against the Lakers. It’s easy to forget that he’s just in Year 3, a lottery pick in 2020 with Haliburton in Jalen Smith. Like every young player, he just needed an opportunity.
Turner on Nesmith’s growth: “Confidence, man. Absolutely. Aaron is just knocking down shot after shot. He goes out there and guards the other team’s biggest matchup every single night. He brings it. He’s got a dog mentality and that’s what Indiana basketball is about.”
2:09: The Pacers aren’t doing a good job of defending without fouling. Nesmith heads to the bench with three fouls, then Mathurin was called for not being straight up. Interesting how when Carlisle wants a timeout, he’ll occasionally wait to call it until the opponent is between free throws.
1:14: Haliburton gets to the rim for a contested layup. It was just his second field goal of the half.
The Pacers were +11 in the quarter and have a 60-48 halftime lead. They shot 50% from 3 in the half, 10 for 20, and scored 17 points in transition.