(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – The Indiana Pacers (1-0) offense tops season totals from a year ago in 143-120 dominating victory over the Washington Wizards (0-1) led by Tyrese Haliburton and Andrew Nembhard’s double-doubles.
The first 16 seconds of the game would summarize the play from the Pacers in the opening quarter. After winning the opening tip, Tyrese Haliburton slipped on the floor, allowing the Wizards to score easily in transition. In total, the Pacers would turn the ball over five times in the first twelve minutes. When Head Coach Rick Carlisle made his first substitutions of the season, the reserves brought some energy. Andrew Nembhard got it started by forcing a turnover. Indiana went from trailing 16-10 to leading tying it at 16. Washington shot a blistering 63% from the field and 57% from distance to lead 39-34 after the first period. Leading all scorers with 12 points was Tyus Jones for Washington. Jalen Smith led the Pacers in scoring with 8 points off the bench.
Indiana would dominate the Wizards in quarter number two with the reserves in the game for the most part. Myles Turner would give the team their first lead of the game at 46-44. Indiana would threaten to go up my double figures a couple times, but they were not able to get over the hump. In the quarter, Indiana shot 73% from the field and made half of their three-pointers. Nembhard played a critical role in guiding the offense with four points and four assists. The leading scorer for the Pacers in the quarter was Bennedict Mathurin with 11 points. At halftime Indiana would lead Washington 73-68. Each team had four players in in double digits. Kyle Kuzma led the Wizards in scoring with 16 points after scoring 11 points in the second quarter. Mathurin, Brown, Buddy Hield, and Smith scored over ten points with Mathurin pacing Indiana with 13 points.
In the first two quarters the Pacers offense scored 34 and 39 points. Their offensive prowess would continue coming out of intermission, but their defense was also much better. In fact, the Pacers wouldn’t let the Wizards make a single three. Washington went 0/5 from downtown. The franchise player for Indiana got red hot in the quarter. 15 of his 20 points on the night came in the third by making seven of his twelve shots. Bruce Brown remained steady for Indiana with another three. Indiana opened the first four minutes of the quarter by going on a 26-4 run to go ahead 89-72. They would do a good job at not letting Washington go on big runs to make it a close game. Their lead would only go below twelve points once for the remainder of the game. After the third period, Indiana led 110-96 after a 37 point third.
With the Pacers comfortably leading going into the fourth quarter, the starters barely saw the floor in the final period of play. Mathurin and Turner were the only starters that played more than five minutes. Their defense from the third quarter carried over into the fourth with them forcing five turnovers and holding Washington to 37% from the field. Nine players for Indiana scored in the quarter with Mathurin, Brown, and Jordan Nwora leading the team in scoring in the quarter with five points. The largest lead the Pacers had in came in the final quarter of play at 137-112 and then again at 139-114. Eighth overall pick Jarace Walker played in the final five minutes of the game but couldn’t convert on his five shot attempts. Indiana would cruise to a 143-120 win.
TOP PERFORMERS: Bruce Brown (24p with 6 three’s), Tyrese Haliburton (20p, 11a, 2b), Bennedict Mathurin (18p, 5a, 4r), and Andrew Nembhard (14p, 10a, 4r). For tonight’s full box score, click here.
NOTES: Bruce Brown set a career high in threes in a game (6), Tyrese Haliburton notched first double-double of the season (32 last year), Andrew Nembhard registered first double-double of the season (5 last season), and team’s 143 points and 38 assists would have been season highs from last year.
NEXT UP: Indiana will go on the road for the first time this season as they go to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers on Saturday evening at 7:30pm eastern. The Kroger pregame show with Pat Boylan starts at 7pm eastern on 93.5/107.5 The Fan.
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