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JaKarr Sampson suspended one game, further thinning center rotation

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Let’s get weird!

San Antonio Spurs v Indiana Pacers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The NBA has handed out punishments for the on-court altercation that occurred between the Pacers and Spurs on Monday night. For Indiana, forward JaKarr Sampson has been suspended one game for head-butting Patty Mills, while Mills ($25,000) and Rudy Gay ($25,000), who tussled momentarily with Sampson while attempting to separate players, have each been fined.

On the prior possession, Sampson appeared to bump Mills while jostling for a rebound, before being shouldered in transition at the other end. Overall, the whole thing was very silly and was really only notable for the fact that it was one of few notable things from an otherwise boring blowout riddled by injuries.

Here’s full video, in case you want to relive the magic.

More interesting, however, given that the Pacers are already down by Myles Turner (toe) and Domantas Sabonis (back) for tonight’s game against Oklahoma City, is how Nate Bjorkgren will fill the void at center — especially considering that Goga Bitadze (ankle) is also listed as questionable. For a brief moment in time on Monday (i.e. roughly three minutes), Malcolm Brogdon manned the middle as part of a five-guard lineup, wrestling with Jakob Poertl for a handful of possessions while also scramming Aaron Holiday out of some mismatches and screening for the ball.

Of course, once San Antonio voluntarily downsized after Poertl picked up a foul setting a moving pick, the Pacers switched everything and played five-out with Oshae Brissett pinch-hitting at nominal center.

That said, in the event micro-ball is once again necessary against the Thunder in (ahem) small doses, here’s hoping for some sightings of guards (i.e. T.J. McConnell) as roll-men.

After all, if the Pacers are going to limp to the finish of the season due to injuries, at least be fun while playing undermanned.