Bringing in free agents T.J. Warren, Jeremy Lamb and Malcolm Brogdon, while letting former Pacers Cory Joseph and Thaddeous Young walk, indicated a change in mindset for the Indiana Pacers front office.
A focus on offense.
This was showcased Friday morning as the Pacers came from behind to defeat the Sacramento Kings in their first India preseason game by a score of 132-131.
The Pacers were led by Warren with 30 points and Domantas Sabonis with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while every starter finished with double digits points.
Myles Turner (11 points and 13 rebounds) and Brogdon (15 points and 14 assists) each recorded double-doubles as well and Lamb scored 20 points.
Despite it being a preseason game, this matchup had the excitement and drama of a regular season game.
With time running out and little hope for the Pacers, Warren hit a three-pointer from the corner with under 10 seconds remaining to tie the game at 118-118. Turner got the block on the other end to send it to overtime.
The team didn’t look back in overtime as they took an early lead, but none else than another Warren three-pointer, and never gave it up for the rest of the way.
Sabonis got the game going with a monster dunk over Marvin Bagley III, but the Kings responded with an early run to put themselves up 17-6 in the first quarter. Sacramento held the lead at the end of the quarter 39-29.
The Kings led by as many as 21 points in the second quarter, but the Pacers chipped away to make it a 72-59 game at halftime.
That’s when the team really started to put it together.
The Pacers started the second half on a 17-5 run to cut the lead to one-point. The run was led by Brogdon controlling the pace, Warren hitting corner-threes and Sabonis pick-and rolls.
The offense showed promise in multiple aspects. Brogdon controlled the pace like few Pacer point guards have been able to do in recent years, while also showing off his range with deep three-pointers.
Sabonis was strong in the pick-and-roll game and showed potential as a facilitator in the short roll.
Warren’s ability to consistently hit the corner three will open the offense in ways it could never be open with Young as the forward.
This is a breath of fresh air for Pacer fans who gritted their teeth watching a stagnant offense during the second-half of last season and playoffs.
The Pacers are back in action tomorrow against the Kings again in India at 9:30 a.m. ET.