A big second half from the Indiana Pacers push them to 3-0 in the Orlando Summer League, outlasting a tough opponent in the Miami Heat to pick up 6 1⁄2 points in the Summer League standings. Indiana stumbled in the second quarter, but came back to life out of the break, starting the third with a 12-0 run, en route to a 50-37 second half win for the Pacers.
Leading the way for the Pacers was their first round pick, T.J. Leaf. Leaf had his offensive arsenal on display, scoring a team high 19 points with 10 rebounds. Leaf did most of his work around the rim, scoring 12 and shooting 6-7 in the paint. It was good to see him work well around the rim, especially considering the size he was giving up to Miami’s Bam Adebayo, who was a force with 29 points and 11 boards of his own.
Leaf was joined in double figures by Joe Young, who helped guide Indiana to the late win with nine of his 17 coming in the fourth. Young had six assists and six rebounds, looking more comfortable as the primary ball handler than he had in the previous outings.
In the fourth quarter, the Pacers needed big plays from not only Young, but Jarnell Stokes and Chris Johnson to help seal the win. Stokes was big early in the quarter to help push Indiana to a two-possession lead with six points and four rebounds in the three minutes to start the third. He finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, four offensive.
Johnson was the fourth Pacer in double figures, scoring 12, scoring five straight points to push a three point lead to eight with about three minutes to go. He also had five rebounds. Despite Adebayo’s dominance throughout the game, the Pacers still pulled in 17 offensive rebounds, 10 coming from the Johnson, Stokes, Leaf trio.
Three more came from Rakeem Christmas, who made his Summer League debut, giving Indiana some much needed size against Adebayo. Christmas looked familiar in a positive sense; stretches of play around the board and a surprisingly easy touch around the rim led him to nine points and five boards in 21 minutes, including all three of Indiana’s blocks.
The only downside to the performance was an off game for Travis Leslie, who had just four points on 2-10 shooting. Leslie went 0-4 from three, but he wasn’t the only one missing, with the Pacers shooting just 4-27 from three on the game. Trey McKinney-Jones followed up with seven points to round out the win.
After three days, the Pacers are in great position to reach the Orlando Summer League Championship Game. They currently sit atop the standings with 19 1⁄2 points, and will clinch a spot with a win tomorrow against the 2-0 Dallas Mavericks. Given this will be the most winning Indiana will experience this NBA season, let’s go all in!