About an hour before tipoff between the Summer Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks, the Pacers revealed that they would be sitting Aaron Holiday and Brian Bowen II in addition to another scratch for Edmond Sumner. Suffice to say, that left an already struggling Pacers squad with even less to lean on in regards to players under contract, opening the door for Alize Johnson to lead the way for Indiana.
Johnson did so just that, leading the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. Johnson continued to trend positively with this outing, crashing the boards better than he had in the first two games, though there were still a number of missed opportunities in terms of being a definitive rebounding force in a Summer League setting.
In fact, his rebounding numbers after today’s game are nearly identical to what he did last year when averaging 8.6 rebounds across five games. These are both down from his G-League performances last season when he pulled in closer to 14 a night for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Johnson did pull in five offensive rebounds, scoring four second chance points.
While Johnson had a solid all around game, his performance was more akin to Indiana’s troubles as an NBA squad last season after losing Victor Oladipo, where very rarely did anyone offer up elevated performances to help out a short-handed squad. That was the case in this game as well, where Indiana’s aversion to scoring points was in full effect.
After leading briefly in the first quarter, the Pacers again fell into a deadly combination of bad shooting and costly turnovers to lead them to a Summer League low (so far) of 67 points. Meanwhile, Atlanta got the standout performance the Pacers were in desperate need of, allowing Jordan Sibert to score 21 points on 7-9 shooting from three point range.
While Sibert was raining in threes, Indiana couldn’t buy a shot from deep, finishing a woeful 4-29, which again dragged their shooting percentage down to their usual 35%. This poor shooting meant Indiana had only three double figure scorers, with DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell continuing his solid Summer League with 16 points. Shizz Alston Jr. rounded out Indiana’s scoring punch with 10 points.
The Pacers will get a day off to regroup and figure out how to shoot 40% for a game before wrapping up the “regular season” portion of the Summer League against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday. It is schedule to tip at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time.