INDIANAPOLIS – With their prized rim protection sitting out a second straight game, the Indiana Pacers had zero answer defensively again.
Dallas (7-7) lived in the paint on Wednesday night, attacking the rim at will and beating the Pacers 124-112 as Indiana (8-6) retuned home for the first time in more than a week.
No Myles Turner (listed at day-to-day with a fractured right hand) and minimal on-ball perimeter defense allowed the Mavericks to score a season-high 68 points in the paint.
The Pacers knocked down 16 three-pointers at an impressive 41 percent clip and made the same number of free throws as the Mavs. But they had zero answer defensive for Luka Doncic’s triple-double and Dallas’ balanced scoring.
Malcolm Brogdon led Indiana with 26 points. Domantas Sabonis added 25.
Jeremy Lamb made his season debut on Wednesday, scoring 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench.
Defensive questions will remain until Turner returns.
The big man worked out before Wednesday’s game and was listed as questionable for the contest. The small fracture in his right hand is something that does not need surgery. Turner practiced fully on Tuesday and remains listed at day-to-day.
Indiana actually took a brief lead early in the fourth quarter but ended up getting outscored 31-20 in the final period.
The Pacers will play again on Friday night, when hosting the Magic.
Three Things Learned
1. Nothing At The Rim, Or On The Perimeter: Yes, this was a major takeaway from Sunday’s loss in Los Angeles but it has to be mentioned again on Wednesday. This team’s only saving grace on defense right now is Myles Turner at the rim. Without Turner in there, teams will live in the paint and finish at a very high rate. The Mavericks did that in scoring a season-high 68 paint points on Indiana. It should be noted that the Pacers woeful perimeter defense in keeping the ball in front of them was also an issue all night long. Even without Turner, Goga Bitadze was benched and saw no action off the bench. JaKarr Sampson, who stands 6-7, was the lone big to get reserve action.
2. Jeremy Lamb Makes Season Debut: For about a week now, Jeremy Lamb had targeted Wednesday night for his first game in 11 months. Lamb looked pretty good in coming back from a serious knee injury (torn ACL, torn meniscus and a small fracture). He had 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting in 19 minutes off the bench. Lamb said afterwards that there are no minutes restrictions for him and he can play on back-to-backs. It would be good to get Lamb back into the starting lineup to alleviate some of that individual scoring burden on Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis. Nate Bjorkgren liked what Lamb brought to the floor on Wednesday night.
3. More Fans Coming: The Pacers actually had some season-ticket holders in the building on Wednesday night with one more home game remaining before the Pacers will welcome 1,000 public fans back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first time since March. On Sunday, in a 1:00 PM tip with the Raptors, the Pacers will have up to 1,000 fans in the building. The hope is that attendance will gradually grow, with the Marion County Health Department capping things at 4,500 fans (25 percent capacity) right now. Over at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts biggest attendance this season was 12,500 fans (seats 67,000). Some changes to fan experience will include no cash being accepted in the arena, face masks must be worn, pod seating and health screenings before entering Bankers Life.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-Magic (Friday, 1-22, at 7:00 PM)
-Raptors (Sunday, 1-24, at 1:00 PM)
-Raptors (Monday, 1-25, at 7:00 PM)
-@Hornets (Wednesday, 1-27, at 7:00 PM)
-@Hornets (Friday, 1-29, at 7:00 PM)