Pacers Notes: Rookies play with Mad Ants before Pacers host Raptors
A day-night double-header at the Fieldhouse makes for a busy and challenging day for the Pacers.
Forget the mire. For the Pacers, there was not time to wallow in the fire that was burning bright after their 157-152 win in Atlanta on Tuesday night.
Before lunch on Wednesday, the Pacers had rookies Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard go across the hall and join the Mad Ants for their home game against the Motor City Cruise. Shep played a few first-half minutes in Atlanta on Tuesday, so had to shift to AAU mode to start with the Ants alongside the rest of his rookie class and Kendall Brown. His minutes were managed and I don’t think you can rule out a showing in the nightcap against the Raptors, but Sheppard finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Walker struggled out of the gate, going 1-9 early on but remained relentless, finishing with 30 points on 23 shots. Seven of those shots were missed 3-balls, so going with what works may be the mover for the young rook while continuing to develop his overall game.
Once again, Oscar Tshiebwe posted startling numbers with 20 points and 28 rebounds. Whoa. Four touchdowns. The Big O has to be longing for a day when Popeye Jones and Dennis Rodman were valuable NBA starters because they could crash the glass. Tshiebwe is averaging 18 rebounds per game which would be a G-League record (16.1) if he continues to both play with the Mad Ants and continue this rebounding pace. If the latter is true, the former seems like a formality.
Oh, and the Mad Ants won 117-107. Check out the action.
Raptors in the ‘House
As for the ‘varsity’ game, the Pacers face a long, athletic Raptors team following an emotional win on the road in Atlanta. Sounds like the script that played out horrifically against Orlando this past Sunday. Hopefully, any lessons learned will be applied this time around.
Andrew Nembhard remains questionable after missing his second game on Tuesday. His return would be a big boost to the rotation and make more sense as to why Sheppard dipped down to the G earlier in the day. Aaron Nesmith started on Tuesday but is now also questionable with a sore wrist. If he can’t go, Obi Toppin will likely return to his starting role.
All of this is assuming Rick Carlisle plans to stick with the lineup change he made on Tuesday with Buddy Hield and Nesmith added to the starting group. After the game, Carlisle indicated that nothing is set game-to-game, although he’s good about pumping up those, like Bennedict Mathurin who was pushed to the reserve rotation and responded with extremely valuable production in that role.
Seven starters was how Carlisle described the situation and with injury and back-to-back implications, nothing would surprise.
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
When: Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan
Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Bruce Brown, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Myles Turner
Raptors: Dennis Schroeder, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poetl
Pacers: Andrew Nembhard (lower back) - questionable, Aaron Nesmith (wrist) - questionable
Raptors: Christian Koloko (illness) - out, Thaddeus Young (illness) - out
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