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Pacers Notes: Boston breakdown, City uni breakout
After getting pounded by the Celtics on Wednesday night, the Pacers returned home to prepare for In-Season Tourney opener against the Cavs.
I love listening to a great radio call of any game and none are better than those delivered by Mark Boyle for every Pacers game. When the Pacers tipped off against the Celtics on Wednesday, I was still making my way home, so Boyle was on in the car.
Whenever I listen to a radio call, I visualize the action as it is called, but occasionally, the call delivers action that doesn’t compute. The early three-point barrage by the C’s qualified, as it seemed every 4-5 seconds, Derrick White or Jayson Tatum was draining a three-pointer.
A trio of C’s threes two minutes into the game put Boston up 14-6 and the boat race was on to a 44-point first quarter. Thanks to Bally Sports shooting blanks, I stuck with Boyle and by halftime the game was a laugher.
Then it really got ugly. 155-104.
To paraphrase Skip and Larry, how’d they ever score 104?
It’s a miracle!
Tyrese Haliburton was out, but he’s not worth 51 points. Stix Smith was out, but he certainly wouldn’t have helped defend the three-point line. The bulk of the Pacers problems after a 2-2 start remain at the defensive end.
They hit the 20 foul mark once again as the Celtics finished the game making 20 three-pointers (on 35 shots) along with 27 of 28 free throws.
The new approach to slowing down opponents appears to need a severe tweaking. Players discussed not being familiar with the new approach. A focus on staying with you man, and trying not to help off three-point shooters has been a struggle so far. In Boston, it was a jumbled mess.
As I’ve mentioned before, instead of having Bruce Brown learn a defensive scheme he’s never played before, maybe they should consult their defensive-minded addition on how to incorporate additional schemes he’s seen work before.
Among the good things gleaned from the beat down was the sighting of rookies Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard. Both scored their first, real NBA points and Shep had a modest role in the reserve rotation.
Theis voices disappointment
Like the unfamiliar defensive approach, another preseason topic of interest was how Carlisle would approach the season with so many young players in need of reps along with a few vets, in particular TJ McConell and Daniel Theis who could instantly help any effort to make the playoffs.
The answer came quickly in game one when the nine-man rotation left McConnell on the bench with only an emotional explanation from his coach to show for it. At least, McConnell is the consensus 10th man and was quick to be tapped in Cleveland to help stop the bleeding and turn around an eventual win over the Cavs.
Daniel Theis on the other hand, hasn’t sniffed a minute of court time, the only player among the 15 active to not play. Even in a 51-points blow out against his former team. There are solid reasons for this, considering how good Stix Smith has looked in the backup big role.
Theis also isn’t a run and gun center, but I don’t feel that excuse holds water since he is so solid in the half court on offense and can help get transition started with rebound and outlets as much as any other bigs.
Since his arrival with Aaron Nesmith in the Brogdon trade, it has seemed Theis was simply on the roster until the team could find the right deal to move him. But over a year later he’s still here, coming off a strong summer of FIBA play, and he’s still on ice.
Theis spoke about his situation while in Boston, where he would no doubt like to return. Unfortunately, Theis would need a buyout to make that happen or at least a trade and buyout.
Brian Robb from MassLive checked in on Theis who had this to say:
“Obviously after a great summer, I’m not happy with the situation I’m in right now,” Theis told MassLive. “I want to play and take all the good stuff from the summer into the season but it’s a long season. We are going to see what’s going on and what’s happening.”
Actually, a reasonable response. No need to panic four games into the season. But the situation seems pretty clear that the Pacers will be moving Theis at some point this season. For his sake, hopefully sooner than later.
City uniform release
On a much more upbeat and frivolous note, the Pacers officially announced their City Edition uniforms which they will wear for 16 games (14 at home) this year including for the In-Season Tournament opener on Friday.
Those home games that are not part of the In-Season tournament will be played on a court design to match the unis. So three different court designs this season and counting. The City Edition court design will look real nice with the renovated Fieldhouse since the green seats have been replaced with darker grey seats.
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