No more Paul George, no problem for the Indiana Pacers. At least, that’s what you could say about opening night.
That’s when the Pacers and Brooklyn Nets took us back to the days of the old ABA, the Pacers running and gunning their way to a 140-131 victory in front of the home fans.
“We want to establish that tempo that we played at tonight,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan told reporters. “It takes you to be in great shape to play that style of basketball. I thought both teams in the second half showed a little fatigue. But our guys fought through it.”
Up-tempo, fast-breakin’ fun, or as Indy Star columnist Gregg Doyel called it, trucking and chucking — well, the new-look and George-less Pacers apparently will try to win by wearing you down.
And hey, there are worse things in basketball, right? Right.
And the Pacers’ newcomers were on full display in this offense, with
Shooting guard Victor Oladipo, who came from Oklahoma City in the George trade, scored 22 points.
Point guard Darren Collison, a former Pacer who became a current Pacer again in free agency, scored 21 and passed for 11 assists.
Big man Myles Turner also scored 21, grabbing 14 rebounds to boot.
Retruning forward Thaddeus Young scored 17, and reserve forward Domantas Sabonis (also from OKC) and Lance Stephenson (yeah, that guy) had 14 apiece off the bench.
Basically, everyone got in on it, and while the Pacers were only playing the Nets, and while they did surrender 130 points — hey, this start sure beat what a lot of folks expected.
“It wasn’t perfect,” Oladipo said. “We haven’t played with each other for a long time. We had training camp and preseason, but we’re still learning each other both offensively and defensively.
“The thing I love about this locker room is, you can tell guys aren’t satisfied. We’re going to continue to keep improving.”