The Pacers locker room was remarkably subdued after putting away the Wizards, 105-89 on Sunday evening. No blaring music, no cross-room banter and laughing. Simply guys getting ready to head home after another win, just as they expected.
This despite the fact they have two days off for Christmas and have won nine of their last 11 games. It appears those frustrating two losses have kept this team grounded and on the hunt to continue improving.
Victor Oladipo was asked if the team, after showing such great balance throughout the playing rotation, was settling into a groove they can rely on going forward.
“Obviously, yeah, but there is still room for improvement,” Oladipo initially responded.
At this point, Myles Turner, overhearing his teammate while getting dressed next to Victor, said, “Hell yeah.”
“There’s still room for us continue to keep getting better. We can be an even better than we are now, way better team than we are now. So, we just gotta keep getting better night in and night out.”
And that is why the Pacers enjoyed their win over the Wizards but were not celebrating anything heading into the holiday.
Other thoughts and observations:
- Aaron Holiday was given some extra run in his reserve rotation, filling in for Tyreke Evans. While he has been struggling to make shots of late, his confidence hasn’t wavered — he’s gonna look to score.
“I’m never going to be afraid to shoot the ball,” Holiday said following the game. “I don’t really care what the stats say or analytics or whatever, I’m going to be confident in my shot and I’m going to take the shots I feel like I should take.”
But playing more certainly helped. After making just 1 of 5 shots in the first half, Holiday came back and made 3 of 4 second-half shots, including a 3-ball to finish with 12 points.
“When you’re out there longer, you get in more of a rhythm and just being out on the floor obviously helps with that,” Holiday said.
- Nate McMillan had no sympathy for the Wizards who arrived at the Fieldhouse not so fresh off a triple-OT win over the Suns the prior night. Before the game McMillan commented on the advantage the Pacers should have.
“Absolutely,” McMillan responded when asked if he thought it was good to see his opponent put in the extra work the night before.
”You want to try to take advantage of that, absolutely. They battled last night and was able to pull that game out. You know you have to try to come out and not give this team anything easy, make them earn everything that they get.”
- Myles Turner grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds to go along with 18 points, but he even he was surprised to see seven of those rebounds were on the offensive glass. He also had two blocks, but felt he was robbed of another one when a late foul was called after he thwarted a dunk attempt by Thomas Bryant. Turner was convinced he got that one.
- One wild card heading into the game was John Wall who sat out the triple-OT game due to illness. He was available against the Pacers but rarely looked like a max player. Hard to tell if it was the illness or something worse, but there were a couple of possessions where he had a half step on Darren Collison, but instead exploiting that half step into a drive and finish opportunity like usual, he let up and moved the ball. Wall finished making just 1 of 7 shots for seven points.
Check out the links: