Jeremy Lamb's Rehab Progressing in Orlando

July 20, 2020 - Despite being out for the season, Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb elected to join his teammates in the NBA bubble. Lamb and coach Nate McMillan discuss his rehab.

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Jeremy Lamb's Rehab Progressing in Orlando

July 20, 2020 - Despite being out for the season, Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb elected to join his teammates in the NBA bubble. Lamb and coach Nate McMillan discuss his rehab.
Jul 20, 2020  |  02:13

McMillan Gives Injury Update as Pacers Prepare for Scrimmages

July 19, 2020 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan revealed which players are dealing with soft-tissue injuries and T.J. McConnell and T.J. Warren looked ahead to Indiana's first scrimmage in Orlando on Thursday.
Jul 19, 2020  |  02:45

Pacers Having Fun After First Week in Bubble

July 17, 2020 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and players Doug McDermott and Aaron Holiday share their takeaways after the first week of practice at the NBA bubble in Orlando.
Jul 17, 2020  |  01:43

Brogdon Recovered, Back at Practice

July 16, 2020 - Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and head coach Nate McMillan discuss Brogdon's recovery from COVID-19, why he is wearing a mask at practice, and life in the NBA bubble.
Jul 16, 2020  |  02:06

McMillan, Brogdon on Team Discussions on Social Injustice

July 16, 2020 - Nate McMillan discusses a team screening of the documentary "13th" and Malcolm Brogdon reflects on discussion among the players about social injustice.
Jul 16, 2020  |  02:11

Oladipo: There's a Strong Possibility I Might Play

July 15, 2020 - Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo explains why he is reconsidering his decision to sit out the 2019-20 NBA season restart after participating in practices with the team in Orlando.
Jul 15, 2020  |  02:14

Myles Turner Feeling Comfortable Back on Court

July 13, 2020 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan discusses Myles Turner's growth during the 2019-20 season and four-month hiatus and then Turner shares his thoughts on being back on the practice court in Orlando.
Jul 13, 2020  |  01:58

McMillan, Sabonis on Pacers' Conditioning

July 12, 2020 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and forward Domantas Sabonis discuss the Pacers' fitness level after holding their first two practices in fourth months.
Jul 12, 2020  |  02:36

Pacers Come Out of Quarantine for First Practice

July 11, 2020 - After a 48-hour quarantine after arriving at the NBA restart bubble in Orlando, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and players T.J. Warren and T.J. McConnell spoke with the media following the team's first practice in four months.
Jul 11, 2020  |  02:26

NBA Trying to Instill Home Court Advantage

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

The fans will be heard when NBA teams play their exhibition games this week in preparation for the resumption of the regular season — in a technological, social distancing kind of way.

Although spectators will not be allowed into the arenas during games, the league plans to surround the court with monitors and enable fans of the designated home team to cheer and interact with the players and coaches via what amounts to video conference calls.

"When we wave at them, they'll be able to wave at us," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said.

That will be one of the major differences teams experience when the games begin, but only one of many. McMillan, whose team plays Portland in a scrimmage on Thursday, said players will have assigned seats on the bench and have to wear masks when not in the game. The coaches will be permitted to take off their masks during the game.

The games also will be played on courts resembling the home team's floor in its home arena in an effort to provide some sort of homecourt advantage at the neutral sites in Orlando.

"There's going to be a lot of change these guys and myself will have to adapt to," McMillan said Tuesday following the Pacers' practice.

McMillan learned of the NBA's planned approach to game operations at a meeting on Monday evening. Myles Turner had not yet heard of the setup when speaking with media members via a video conference following practice, but voiced support for whatever the league wants to do.

"The way I look at it, we've had zero positive (COVID-19) cases since July 13," Turner said. "So obviously what the league has set up is working. I'm just going to follow what they're saying. We all want to play basketball, we all want sports back, and we all want to do it as safely as possible."

Each of the 22 teams in Orlando will play three exhibition games before resuming the regular season. Adjustments will be made along the way in the unprecedented circumstances in Orlando.

"The NBA is using these scrimmages to take a look at how they want to run the game and broadcast the game," McMillan said. "They're going to be looking at a lot of feedback from the coaches and the players."

McMillan plans to add a wrinkle of his own to the game preparations. He'll have his players participate in a meditation session on Wednesday, led by an on-site specialist. He hopes it provides a calming effect in the isolated environment where players are removed from their families, restricted in their movements, and limited in their food options.

"There's a lot of things that's been on our guys' minds," McMillan said. "We need to visualize why we're here and what we want to accomplish while we're here."

Centers Missing

The Pacers practiced on Tuesday without starting centers Domantas Sabonis and Turner as well as backup Goga Bitadze.

Sabonis, who has plantar fasciitis in a foot, will miss Thursday's game and perhaps more. Turner said he took a knee to his calf while setting a screen in practice, but plans to be ready on Thursday. The rookie Bitadze's status is not clear.

TJ Leaf and JaKarr Sampson, both more naturally suited to play forward, have played some at center in practice to fill the gaps. Sampson has missed some practice time with a strained lower back but is expected to be available on Thursday.

One player who hasn't experienced physical issues in Orlando is Victor Oladipo, who stated before the Pacers left Indianapolis that he wouldn't play in the games because of concerns about the rehabilitation process that kept him out of all but the final 13 games of the season before the lockdown. Oladipo later relented, saying he would try to play in the games when the season resumes, but has not announced a definite commitment. McMillan has said Oladipo will play in the scrimmages.

"Victor's doing well," McMillan said. "He's looking good and going through full practices. There are no restrictions on him."

McMillan said he won't decide on a starting lineup, minutes allotment and playing rotation until Thursday morning, when he has the latest injury report from his training staff.

Turner Confident

Turner occasionally has been mentioned as one of the players who has stood out in practice since the Pacers arrived in Orlando. Doug McDermott, for one, said Turner's post-up game has improved since the season was suspended on March 10.

Turner didn't argue, but believes his overall game has improved.

"I was playing more perimeter basketball when the season ended, but (since then) I've worked on all aspects of my game," he said. "The post-up was obviously one of those things; just being more patient and getting to the basket more. I'm feeling confident in my game and trying to pick up where we left off."

Turner appeared to be hitting stride when the season was suspended, having averaged 15.7 points on 56 percent shooting, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.7 blocked shots over the final three games. His play had suffered earlier in the season as he adjusted to playing forward on offense alongside Sabonis, who was selected to play in the All-Star Game.

"At the beginning of the season I wasn't very confident in playing the four position," Turner said. "I feel the four position is something I'm more naturally suited to play, but I never really had to do it. It was kind of like I was thrown in the fire and had to figure it out for myself. I didn't think I was doing it right.

"As the season progressed, my confidence was so much higher. It showed on the court. Just keeping my confidence high and playing the way I've always been accustomed to playing. That's really all it was, just going out there and being myself."

With players allowed to put social justice statements rather than their names on their game jerseys in Orlando, Turner said he has chosen "Respect Us."

"We're not just entertainment pieces," he said. "We're doing what we love, but we are people. There are a lot of messages we want to get across. As a whole, I think we deserve more respect as people and not just athletes.

"I'm excited to be one of the young people out here talking about this change and using my platform for good," he said.

Brogdon Launches Foundation

Malcolm Brogdon announced the formation of the Brogdon Family Foundation on Tuesday, an organization dedicated to improving social justice, clean water infrastructure and education.

"He's been trying to give back and help in his community since we met him," McMillan said.

"We knew some things about Malcolm, but once we signed him we had the opportunity to sit down and talk about some of the things we were looking to accomplish and listen to some of the things he wants to accomplish. We knew we had a well-rounded player and man. This guy, he knows what he wants to do in life and he's pursuing it. He's going to be a leader. That's what we brought him into the organization for.

"When he speaks, guys listen. Including myself."


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Mark Montieth's book on the formation and groundbreaking seasons of the Pacers, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," is available in bookstores throughout Indiana and on Amazon.com.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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