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INDIANAPOLIS – Saturday night was about the new faces of the Indiana Pacers getting their chances for extended action in the preseason.
With Nate McMillan’s starting lineup having a few bumps and bruises, the head coach decided to rest the 5-man group of Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner in his team’s second preseason game of the year.
McMillan’s reserves lost in overtime on Saturday, in a 109-104 defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies.
“We (wanted to) take a look at the guys, and what they’re capable of doing,” McMillan said of resting his starters. We got a good look at a number of guys and you know we are always learning in this preseason some things that we can do and some things that we need to work on. So it’s a good opportunity to get a look at our guys.”
Saturday’s game in Memphis was also the debut in a Pacers uniform for Tyreke Evans.
The dynamic guard had 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting (1-of-5 from three point range) 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 turnovers.
With Evans and Domantas Sabonis in the starting lineup, Saturday offered a glimpse into a key combination the Pacers will rely on a lot this season. Sabonis had 17 points (7-of-18 shooting) and 14 rebounds in just 21 minutes of action.
Second-year forward T.J. Leaf got another start for Young. Leaf had 9 points (4-of-7 shooting) and 5 rebounds.
Preseason game number two for the Pacers allowed their rookies to receive ample run off the bench.
First-round pick Aaron Holiday shot the ball well, with 20 points (6-of-13 shooting, 4-of-8 from three point range), but did have a game-high 8 turnovers. The inability to take care of the ball plagued the Pacers all night, as they lost the turnover battle, 25-14.
“He was going up against a lot of pressure and really it’s the first time for him getting minutes out there,” McMillan said of Holiday. “I thought he did some good things, and of course there were some things we need to work on. He was kind of able to keep us in the game with scoring the ball, but he did have eight turnovers.
“We had 25 in the game. So we have to do a better job, including Aaron, taking care of the basketball.”
Second-round pick Alize Johnson grabbed 9 rebounds in 19 minutes, while adding 8 points (3-of-9) shooting.
For the Grizzlies, No. 4 overall pick and Indianapolis native Jaren Jackson Jr. had 18 points.
Veterans Mike Conley, another Indy native, and Marc Gasol both sat out.
These two teams will see each other a week from Wednesday, in Indiana, for the regular season opener.
Pacers Preseason Schedule
-at Cavaliers, Monday (10/8)
-at Bulls, Wednesday (10/10)
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