Pacers offense shines in season opener, defeating Wizards 143-120
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The 2023-2024 Indiana Pacers will be able to score the basketball.
That was easy to see in the season-opening game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse as the Pacers defeated the Wizards 143-120.
The team scored 143 points just once last season, and only 17 times in team history.
The Pacers also drained 20 three-pointers, a feat they accomplished only six times last year.
The offense did struggle out of the gate, as expected after a long offseason, but they quickly knocked off the rust.
After gaining the lead before halftime, the Blue and Gold kept their foot on the throttle and never looked back.
Tyrese Halliburton hit the bench with six minutes left in the game after the Pacers mounted a 22-point lead, and the home crowd gave him the loudest roar of the night.
Halliburton finished the game with 20 points and 11 assists.
The NBA All-Star secured a big extension over the offseason, but he wasn’t the only one who inked a big contract with the team.
Free-agent signee Bruce Brown made an immediate impact after joining the Pacers following an NBA championship run with Denver.
Brown, one of the league’s top defenders, showed that he can be a great asset behind the arc for the Pacers. He ended with 24 points, including a game high six three-pointers.
Buddy Hield came off the bench and showed what he can do as one of the best sharpshooters in the league. Hield drained four threes in a 14-point effort.
Fans also got a preview of a potentially special connection between newly acquired Obi Toppin and Haliburton.
On multiple occasions throughout the game, Haliburton found the former Knick for a flight to the rim or a three-point shot.
Toppin finished the game with 11 points and 4 rebounds.
Star center Myles Turner made his presence known with 11 points and 8 rebounds as well.
Second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin had a great game to start the year, scoring 18 points as every starter finished in double-figures.
For the Wizards, Kyle Kuzma led the game with 25 points and newly acquired Jordan Poole scored 18 points.
Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is focused more on the slow first quarter instead of the impressive final three frames.
“Not much [went well] in the first quarter,” Carlisle said. “We struggled, we were off kilter, out of rhythm… our second unit came in and gave us a real lift… and that was key. In the third quarter, Ty just went to work… we were able to get traction defensively and it went from there.”
Tyrese Haliburton agreed with Carlisle, praising the team’s depth.
“[Our depth] is really beneficial to us,” Haliburton said. “We feel like we really have 11, 12, 13 guys that can be a part of the rotation. We feel like we are a really deep team… it’s just a testament to the roster that has been built here.”
The Pacers hit the road for a matchup with the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
The Wizards get a pair of home games, starting with a game against the Grizzlies in D.C. on Saturday.