Monday, Nov. 7 at 7:45 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Arguably the breakout moment of Myles Turner's NBA career came on Feb. 1, 2016, when he blocked LeBron James at the rim in crunch time of a game in his rookie season.
Seven seasons and several hundred blocks later, the longest-tenured Pacer hit a career milestone in style, swatting another number-one pick at Gainbridge Fieldhouse for his 1,000th career block and tallying 37 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks to lead a young Indiana team to a 129-122 victory over New Orleans.
The win was the fourth in five games for the Pacers (5-5). Tyrese Haliburton and Jalen Smith also recorded double-doubles, Buddy Hield topped 20 points once again, and Andrew Nembhard had a strong showing in his first career start, but the night belonged to Turner.
The 26-year-old posted his most points ever in a regulation game and blocked Pelicans star Zion Willamson twice, with the second rejection making him just the fourth player ever to block 1,000 shots with the Pacers. He went 11-for-18 from the field, 4-for-7 from 3-point range, and 11-for-11 from the free throw line in the win over New Orleans (5-5).
"It's special, man," Turner told Bally Sports Indiana's Jeremiah Johnson after his memorable night. "This is what I do. I think I'm the best shot-blocker in the world and I'm going to stay with that confidence."
The Pacers have struggled defensively in the first quarter for much of the season, but Indiana's defense delivered a statement early on Monday. The Blue & Gold forced two turnovers and six misses on New Orleans' first eight possessions -- punctuated by Turner rejecting Williamson at the rim -- as the hosts raced out to an early 9-0 lead.
The Pelicans picked up their offense by turning to the 3-point arc, going 7-for-10 from long range in the opening frame. But Turner paced Indiana's offense with 12 points and six rebounds in the opening quarter, enough to allow the Pacers to keep a narrow 32-30 advantage heading into the second quarter.
The visitors moved in front for the first time on Williamson's dunk that made it 44-42 with 7:23 remaining in the second quarter. That tipped off a stretch where the two teams traded buckets on five straight possessions.
Indiana eventually surged back ahead on Haliburton's 3-pointer with 2:38 remaining in the first half. Nembhard hit a trey a minute later, then Hield got in on the act with a triple of his own with 53.2 seconds remaining.
Jonas Valanciunas' hook shot ended Indiana's run, then Herb Jones' layup at the buzzer trimmed Indiana's lead to 58-55 entering halftime.
The Pacers built their lead back to double digits midway through the third quarter. Indiana led 76-72 before Hield's fourth three of the night at the 6:50 mark. Isaiah Jackson hit one of two free throws on Indiana's next possession, then Haliburton connected with Bennedict Mathurin for an alley-oop at 6:11. After a miss on the other end, the Pacers pushed the break and Haliburton knocked down a triple to cap a 9-0 spurt in just 54 seconds.
Haliburton and Mathurin each added threes to help Indiana keep a comfortable lead. Turner then blocked Williamson for the second time at 1:44 -- the 1,000th block of his NBA career -- and drilled a trey of his own in the final minute of the frame to help Indiana take a 100-91 lead into the fourth quarter.
The hosts opened the final frame with a 7-1 run to push the margin back to double digits. They led by as many as 18 and didn't allow the Pelicans to seriously threaten the rest of the way.
Haliburton finished with 20 points, four rebounds, and 13 assists in the win, matching his career high with six 3-pointers. Hield made five threes himself on his way to 20 points, five boards, three assists, two blocks, and two steals.
Smith finished with 15 points and 11 boards. Nembhard, starting for the first time with both Chris Duarte and Aaron Nesmith sidelined, tallied 15 points and five assists as all five starters reached double figures. T.J. McConnell also chipped in 10 points off the bench.
"This was just an unbelievable game," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was just really spirited from start to finish. A lot of guys contributed. I was impressed with every guy that stepped on the floor and every guy that didn't step on the floor. We just had a real connected spirit tonight."
Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 29 points, going 12-for-23 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Williamson finished with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting, seven boards, and six assists.
Indiana will continue a four-game homestand this week, hosting Denver on Wednesday and Toronto on Saturday.
Inside the Numbers
Turner topped 30 points for the fifth time in his career. His 37 points were second only to his 40 in an overtime game in Washington on Oct. 22, 2021.
The Pacers went 22-for-48 (45.8 percent) from 3-point range on Monday. Those 22 3-pointers were the second-most ever by Indiana, trailing only the franchise-record 23 they made in a win at Brooklyn last month on Oct. 29.
Haliburton recorded his sixth double-double in 10 games this season. His 13 assists were a season high and he made six 3-pointers in a game for the fifth time in his career.
Smith recorded his third double-double of the season in the victory.
Mathurin failed to reach double figures for the first time after accomplishing the feat in nine straight games to open his career. He still managed to register eight points and five assists off the bench.
The Pacers scored 42 points in the third quarter, their most points in that frame this season.
You Can Quote Me On That
"They were switching everything down the stretch. They've got some big wings, but just guys that couldn't really control him in the paint. He was scoring, so halfway through the fourth I told him, 'I'm trying to get you 40.'" -Haliburton on feeding Turner the ball
"He just played the game, played a simple game. When they switched on him, he positioned himself to catch the ball and punish them inside. There was nothing that he did that was out of character or that was something that he was not capable of doing." -Carlisle on Turner's 37-point performance
"Honestly running the floor, I think that's big for me. When I can get out there, get out in transition -- I know I'm quicker and faster than a lot of these bigs -- when I get out there, even if I don't get the ball, someone on the perimeter's going to get the ball...If I can get myself, my motor going early, then everything else feels easier." -Turner on what led to his big night
"I think we're just all getting more comfortable with what we want to do and what our identity is as a team on both sides of the floor. I think we've just got a bunch of competitive dudes." -Nembhard on winning four of five games
"I'm impressed with a lot of things. I'm impressed with our fans. They're really into it. They really like this group, this team. And I love the pace that we play at. Especially when we get shots, we can really get up and down the floor quickly." -Carlisle on takeaways from the Pacers' strong play
"When we get the ball moving, we're getting the right shots, it does become contagious for a lot of guys. We have a lot of guys that can get it going. So different night, different person (can go off)." -Nembhard on Indiana's offense
Stat of the Night
Turner joined Jermaine O’Neal (1,245), Rik Smits (1,111) and Herb Williams (1,094) in the Pacers 1,000 block club. Only O'Neal accomplished the feat in fewer games.
- The Pacers have a .500 record for the first time since they were 15-15 on Feb. 26, 2020.
- Duarte missed his first game this season after spraining his left ankle in Friday's win over Miami.
- Nesmith missed his fourth straight contest with a sore right foot.
The Pacers continue their homestand by welcoming reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets to Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>