Any opening night optimism for the Pacers was quickly wiped away midway through the fourth quarter when they endured their first dose of adversity in the form of a decisive 16-2 run by the Pistons.
The suddend burst by the visitors - part of a 36-point closing quarter for Detroit - was met with a jumbled mess of poor execution by the Pacers. Luke Kennard had 16 points in the fourth quarter making for a lethal tag team with Andre Drummond who added 14 points and 7 rebounds, simply continuing his big night of bully ball around the rim.
The Pacers problems were exposed bare by the late fade and eventual loss. Nate McMillan mentioned after the game that they ended up having no answer for Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard. Yep, that’s a problem no one wants to admit to, but the Pacers had to own it.
Malcolm Brogdon did not take the loss well. Normally one to give thoughtful and even expansive answers to questions from the media, Brogdon was agitated and short with his answers after the game. But he did cut to the chase when asked about the problems and any positives the team can take from their first game.
Brogdon blamed the defensive breakdowns primarily on communication and the group literally not talking enough. It seems like that is a byproduct of everyone not yet being on the same page, unsure what to call out for whom at times.
As for positives, Brogdon mentioned adversity, which can force a team to come together to work past the problems. Poor execution, fit and familiarity all took turns eventually taking down the Pacers on Wednesday and now they have two days to use the adversity as fuel to grow and improve before heading to Cleveland to face the Cavs on Saturday.
Injury note: T.J. Warren appeared fine following the game after taking a brutal fall late in the fourth quarter. X-rays on his hip were negative and Warren said he expects to play on Saturday since it is just a bruise. Warren stayed on the ground for quite awhile before being helped off the court. He said he was in shock for a minute after the wild fall, worrying he had hurt his wrist, let alone his hip.
Check out the links:
Game Rewind: Pacers 110, Pistons 119
Pacers’ Journey Begins with a Misstep
Insider: Indiana Pacers lose composure late in dropping season-opener to Detroit Pistons
Pacers vs. Pistsons: Turner, Sabonis are fine, but Pacers need Victor Oladipo
Part of the process: Why the lack of familiarity is the Pacers’ current reality – The Athletic
Pistons at Pacers final score: Luke Kennard and Andre Drummond post wild numbers in opening win, 119-110 - Detroit Bad Boys
Andre Drummond, Luke Kennard power Pistons past Pacers in opener - mlive.com
Detroit Pistons observations: Andre Drummond, Luke Kennard dominate - Detroit Free Press