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One bad stretch drops Pacers in loss to Thunder 107-99

Another winnable game slipped through the grasp of the Indiana Pacers due to a single stretch of scoreless offense, dropping them to nine straight losses on the road, splitting the season series with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Similar to most of those road losses, the effort was there, but the inability to put together a full 48-minute game ended up costing them.

Tonight’s collapse came in the form of being on the wrong side of a 24-0 run, the longest such run in the NBA this season. It took just six and a half scoreless minutes to completely Wholesale nba jerseys
turn the game on its head, canceling out a solid first half in which the Pacers had built a double figure lead.

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The ability to get there makes this collapse all that more frustrating. The Pacers outscored Oklahoma City 27-16 in the second quarter, bouncing back from allowing a 6-0 run to close the first, building an eight point point lead with 2:45 remaining in the second. The Thunder scored the next four, casting feelings of déjà vu as the half neared, but Indiana pushed back, scoring the final five of the half to push ahead by nine.

Getting the game to double figures on a pair of Myles Turner jumpers appeared to be a good omen out of the break, but the failure to corral a Steven Adams offensive rebound put it back to single digits. The score stood frozen at 58-50 for two and a half minutes before another Adams offensive putback kickstarted the Thunder, allowing them to score on their next five possessions, including four from three point range.

Oklahoma City made it a double figure game when following a tough call on a strip by Wesley Matthews on Paul George, George drew another tough call on Matthews on an and one, completing a four point play after Matthews drew a technical foul, completing the 24-0 run.

As bad as the run was, the Pacers still didn’t play themselves out of the game. Tyreke Evans stopped the run, allowing Indiana to show some life on the offensive end, outscoring the Thunder 11-4 to close the third quarter. Still, the damage was done. Even in closing the quarter on a positive note, the Pacers wasted four scoring opportunities.

The inability to complete possessions in the second half ultimately kept the Pacers from ever capitalizing on a comeback opportunity even when Bojan Bogdanovic made it a five point game with eight minutes left. The Thunder responded, going back up by double figures with just over six minutes remaining in the quarter.

Indiana proceeded to do their job on the defensive end, holding the Thunder scoreless for almost three minutes. Through that entire stretch, the Pacers mustered up just four points, three of those immediately given back on a George circus shot and one, pushing the lead back out beyond 10.

Insider: Homecourt looms large for Pacers as season series with Celtics comes to a head

“It’s getting bigger, of course,” said Bojan Bogdanovic, who led the Pacers with 28 points in Wednesday’s 107-99 loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder. “We are playing pretty good basketball at home the last month. We are struggling playing away.”

The scoring droughts occurred even before losing Oladipo to a season-ending knee injury Jan. 23, but it has become more pronounced during nine consecutive cheap nba jerseys china
road losses for the Pacers. They haven’t won away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse since Feb. 23.
When the opponent makes adjustments at halftime, such as when the Denver Nuggets stopped switching 1-5 on defense, the Pacers haven’t countered the countermoves.

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By the time the Pacers shake that deer-in-the-headlights reaction, any lead they have evaporates. If it’s a competitive contest, it quickly turns one-sided.

The numbers don’t lie about their offensive slow down:

>> Before Oladipo’s injury, the Pacers actually scored better on the road at 110.4 points per game compared with 107.6 at home. They also shot better at 49.2 percent (vs. 46.8) and 38.4 percent from 3 (vs. 36.5). They were 14-9 and this includes the 11 games missed by Oladipo before the new year with knee soreness.

VISITING WITH OLADIPO JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED FOR THE PACERS

After Victor Oladipo suffered his season-ending knee injury, the Indiana Pacers looked doomed to a downward spiral as they immediately lost their next four games.

They were in the middle of a 4-game road trip and had lost to their third non-playoff opponent in just six days, but then the schedule gave the Pacers a blessing. They would have an off day in Miami where Oladipo was staying after having surgery on his ruptured quad tendon.

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Typically, the patient is the one who needs the visitors to uplift them after a major operation like Oladipo’s but for the Pacers visiting with their All Star was just what they needed.

“It was good to see him, physically,” Myles Turner told Wholesale nba jerseys
the Indy Star. “He was in good spirits. I didn’t expect anything less.”
Doug McDermott agreed and told the Star, “He’s always got energy. He’s always upbeat. He gave us words to hold on to. Vic is still our vocal leader even when he’s not in the locker room. We still talk to him. He texts us. It was good just to hear his voice and be around him.”

After meeting with their lost leader, Indiana immediately followed their losing streak with a winning streak. The next day after visiting with Oladipo, the Pacers beat the Heat in Miami and they ended the road trip with a tight victory over the Pelicans.

“It was mental. We needed this win to get going,” Bojan Bogdanovic said after the team won in Miami. “We have enough quality in this locker room even without Victor to put up the numbers. We just got to be better defensively.”

Pacers Tyreke Evans game-time decision; Anthony Davis set to return for Pelicans

Indiana Pacers guard Tyreke Evans did not participate in live drills Thursday because of lingering issues with his left ankle.
Evans will be a game-time decision for Friday’s contest against the New Orleans Pelicans. The veteran guard first injured his ankle during a Feb. 11 game against the Charlotte Hornets.

“Going into that (Milwaukee) game, I had tweaked my ankle (vs. Charlotte),” Evans said. “I had Brook Lopez on me a couple times and I could’ve gone by him. I was feeling cheap nba jerseys china
a little pain in my ankle. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.”

Evans added he’s considering getting an MRI.

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Evans missed three games in late January while dealing with a back injury.

The Pacers’ depth will be tested, while the Pelicans will get a big boost from the return of star Anthony Davis.
New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said his star player would be available for Friday’s game.

Davis has been dealing with a bruised muscle in his left shoulder. The injury forced him to leave the team’s final game before the All-Star break at halftime.

Follow IndyStar sports producer Akeem Glaspie on Twitter at @THEAkeemGlaspie.

‘King’ James Briefly Sat, and His Subjects Carried the Load

CLEVELAND — The statistics say LeBron James has never received less help in the N.B.A. playoffs from a group of teammates than he did in this first-round marathon against the Indiana Pacers.

The reality of Sunday’s wild Game 7 at Quicken Loans Arena is that James’s much-maligned supporting cast had to help keep its hobbled king propped up in the most stressful quarter of a chaotic season — and they somehow managed to pull it off in Cleveland’s 105-101 triumph.

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In the seventh Game 7 of his playoff life, James made his first seven shots and played at his brilliant best until he was hit with what was reported to be a bout of leg cramps late in the third quarter. Yet he managed to overcome the interruption as well as the discomfort to finish with 45 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals — while getting just enough help from Kevin Love, George Hill and the surprise starter Tristan Thompson — to keep the Cavaliers’ season alive.

James’s fifth successive victory in a Game 7 spared him from making his first exit in the opening round of the playoffs in his 15 N.B.A. seasons — along with the uncharacteristic shame of failing to even make it to May. James’s teams had hardly been pushed in 12 previous first-round series, going 48-7 overall.

Insider: Colts’ Darius Leonard ‘heartbroken’ by Pro Bowl snub

INDIANAPOLIS — He spent his Victory Monday surprising a diehard Colts fan at work, his Tuesday morning donating 100 bicycles to the Dillon County Department of Social Services, his Tuesday evening Googling what it meant to be a Pro Bowl alternate.

About that “alternate”…

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“I’d say heartbroken is the right word,” says his wife, Kayla.

After the calls came, first from GM Chris Ballard,cheap nba jerseys china
then from coach Frank Reich, Darius Leonard sat there stunned. Confused. Angry. The player with the most tackles in football – the most by a rookie in his first 13 games in league history – hadn’t earned a spot in the Pro Bowl? How was this even possible? It had been a goal of his from the start of the season, and he wanted it. Instead Leonard was left seething, soaking in a sentiment he knows all too well: disrespect.

“Nothing new for me,” the Colts rookie linebacker said Wednesday. “Been overlooked my whole life.”

4 Questions the Pacers need to answer with Victor Oladipo returning to action

Victor Oladipo didn’t make any promises about when he would return to game action on Tuesday, but he practiced for the first time in almost a month and was upgraded to questionable after missing the last 11 games due to knee soreness.

“It’s up in the air I guess you can say,” the All-Star guard said when asked if he would be ready to play tonight against the Bucks. “But, we’ll see. If all the dots align, maybe.”

With everything apparently going according to plan, the team announced this afternoon that he would be available to play, thus giving a finite conclusion to his indefinite absence.

On that note, and taking into account that Nate McMillan indicated that his star will be on a minutes restriction until he can work himself back into game shape, here’s four questions the Pacers need to answer once Victor Oladipo starts to look like Victor Oladipo.

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Will Myles Turner fade into the background, again?
Over the last 11 games, Indiana’s starting center has averaged 52.9 touches per game, a mark which would be a career-high if it held for the full season. He’s also up to 35.7 percent from cheap nba jerseys from china
behind the arc compared to 21.7 percent before Oladipo went down. The 22-year-old stretch-shooting shot-blocker needs to stay involved, not only for the sake of his own growth but also to bend the defense.

Teams that drop deep have to give up something when Turner pops and generally the option they choose is him. The decision is two-fold: 1) They aren’t conceding anything if he doesn’t touch the ball, and 2) they’d rather chance him making a three than risk having their rim protector stray too far from the restricted area (see: Rudy Gobert, Jazz).

Still, the Pacers could stand to put more pressure on the stunter when Victor Oladipo gets back, and the best way to do that on these actions is to feed Turner with increased regularity.

Take a look at this possession against Utah. Because Darren Collison dribbled off the pick and immediately delivered the pocket pass to Turner with Gobert hanging back in the paint, Donovan Mitchell gets caught in halfway purgatory — trapped in-between inching closer to Indiana’s starting center until Gobert can recover and abandoning Tyreke Evans.

Raptors return home for the Indiana Pacers: Preview, start time, and more

The Raptors return to Toronto tonight to play the Indiana Pacers in what will somehow be the first meeting between these two teams this season.

Coming off a tough four-game west coast trip, the Raptors managed to win the first two games in convincing fashion against the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. Toronto looked like they were firing on all cylinders until they lost centre Jonas Valanciunas due to a thumb injury. Along the way, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Serge Ibaka were also hurt (though more modestly so) in the final two games of the trip.

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The two games against the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets were all winnable for the Raptors, as they came down to the final few possessions, Cheap Indiana Pacers Jerseys
but they couldn’t capitalize. Fans did get to see what Kawhi Leonard was capable of playing without Lowry — and much other support. It was clear that even with Kawhi playing well, he needs Lowry to facilitate too and relieve some of the offensive pressure.

Still, Toronto finished the road trip with a respectable 2-2 record, and sit 23-9 overall. They could potentially be without Lowry and Ibaka, who are questionable, and VanVleet and Siakam, who are probable for tonight’s game. Luckily, there is another light at the end of the tunnel: Norman Powell is probable for tonight’s game with all signs clearing him for a return to action for the first time since injuring his shoulder back on November 5th against the Utah Jazz

The Pacers come into this one having lost to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, courtesy of a Larry Nance Jr. game-winning tip-in shot.

Before that game, Indiana had been riding a seven-game winning streak. They had been without their All-Star Victor Oladipo, who went down with a knee injury on November 17, but were able to keep afloat with a 7-4 record in his absence. Solid contributions from Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young, Domantas Sabonis, and others, kept the Pacers in third in the Eastern Conference with a record of 20-11.

Report: Pacers expected to sign Davon Reed to two-way contract

After being waived by the Phoenix Suns to clear up room to sign veteran Jamal Crawford, shooting guard Davon Reed is expected to join Edmond Sumner in place of C.J. Wilcox on two-way contract with the Indiana Pacers, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Reed, who was taken 32nd in the 2017 NBA draft, tore his meniscus before the start of his rookie season and didn’t make his debut with the Suns until January 14, coincidentally against the Pacers.

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In 21 games with Phoenix, the 23-year-old averaged 3.0 points and 1.9 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game. For the NAZ Suns, who went 8-4 with him on the roster, he averaged 10.3 points on rocky shooting (31 percent) to go with 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 12 games.

As his woeful field-goal percentage suggests, since Wholesale nba jerseys
sustaining a second tear to the same knee for the second time in three seasons, Reed has struggled to regain his long-range shooting touch. After connecting on north of 35 percent of his three-point attempts in each of his four collegiate seasons, the former Miami Hurricane has only made 29 of his last 102 threes, including G League stints and preseason.

Nevertheless, assuming he can get his legs back underneath him, the potential 3-and-D prospect is 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan and the NAZ Suns held opponents to fewer points with him on the floor than off even with him shaking off rust from surgery, so it can’t hurt for the Pacers to investigate whether his shooting can pull nearer to even with his defense in Fort Wayne.

Though there was never any official word on injured sharpshooter C.J. Wilcox, signing Reed to his two-way spot confirms his waiver and eliminates the possibility of him still earning the prorated portion of his salary via counting the days he rehabs with the team’s medical staff toward his 45-day maximum.

With the roster full at 17, Indiana’s front office likely won’t have any more housekeeping to do unless the days Edmond Sumner can spend with the Pacers expire and they need to create a roster spot to convert his two-way contract into a guaranteed deal.

Pacers sign Demetrius Denzel-Dyson to acquire his G League rights

The Pacers have signed free agent point guard Demetrius Denzel-Dyson, the team announced Saturday. With the roster now standing at 17 (including Edmond Sumner’s two-way contract) and maybe 18 (depending on how the team proceeds with the two-way contract of injured sharpshooter C.J. Wilcox), Indiana is expected to waive Denzel-Dyson prior to the cut deadline at 5:00 PM on Monday with the intention of making him an affiliate player after having acquired his G League rights.

The undrafted guard, who averaged 15.2 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 42.1 percent from three during his senior season at Samford University in 2017-18, was announced as a participant on the Grizzlies’ 2018 Summer League mini-camp roster but was never listed on the club’s roster in Utah or Las Vegas.

Following preseason waivers, Indiana will be allowed to assign up to four affiliate players to the Mad Ants.

After being released by the Pacers yesterday, Wholesale jerseys Omari Johnson and Elijah Stewart are likely candidates to join Denzel-Dyson in Fort Wayne.

Both players signed Exhibit-10 deals, which means they’ll earn a $50,000 bonus if they report to the Mad Ants.

Intrigue, however, continues to loom around Ben Moore’s long-term affiliation with the Pacers.

In the event that Edmond Sumner comes to exceed the 45-day maximum he’s allowed to spend with the Pacers, Indiana’s front office will need to open a spot (presumably Moore’s) on the 15-man roster in order to convert his two-way contract to a guaranteed deal.

As such, if Moore ends up being waived to maintain roster flexibility and no other team claims him or signs him as a free agent before the end of camp, his ability to continue his journey in Fort Wayne will depend upon the dollar amount on his partial guarantee. By league rule, if Moore earned more than $50K with Indiana at training camp, he won’t be able to play for the Mad Ants during the 2018-19 season.

Fort Wayne opens the regular season on the road against the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Friday, November 2.