Myles Turner
(Matt Kryger)

Turner Ignites Home Crowd with "Sensational" Performance in Game 4

There's under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter in Game 4 on Sunday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Myles Turner — the longest tenured Pacer — has given the sellout crowd plenty to cheer about, adding several new clips to his already extensive highlight reel in this building.

He just hit his fifth three of the night on the previous possession to push Indiana's lead back to double digits. Bucks forward Jae Crowder is whistled for a foul on Pascal Siakam with 7:34 to play. During the brief lull in the action, a chant starts to build in the upper rafters of the Fieldhouse, building up quickly like a snowball rolling down a hill, and soon seemingly all 17,274 are chanting in unison.


The Pacers inbound the ball and Turner sets a screen above the 3-point arc for Andrew Nembhard. After Nembhard dribbles by him, Turner moves left, catches a dish from Nembhard, and hoists another three.

The ball swishes through the net. Bucks head coach Doc Rivers calls a timeout. Turner skips backward toward the Pacers bench, then spins around to look at the crowd, holding his right hand to his ear.

That put the Pacers up 108-94. The Bucks never got back within single digits, as Indiana cruised to a 126-113 win and now leads the best-of-seven series, 3-1. The Blue & Gold are now one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, something they've never done in Turner's nine seasons with the franchise.

One of the biggest reasons they're in that position is the play of Turner. He tallied 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and three blocks in Tuesday's Game 2 win in Milwaukee. He dropped 29 to go along with nine rebounds in Friday's Game 3 victory at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

And he was sensational on Sunday, scoring 29 points while going 10-for-17 from the field and 7-for-9 from 3-point range to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, and three blocks.

The Bucks were without stars Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf) and Damian Lillard (Achilles) on Sunday and lost starting big man Bobby Portis seven minutes into Game 4 after he was ejected for shoving and then swinging at Nembhard. But Milwaukee hung around for much of the night, only trailing by three at halftime and continuing to make runs into the second half.

But when the Pacers needed it most, Turner repeatedly delivered, igniting the crowd and sparking key runs that lifted the Pacers to victory.

The Bucks were still hanging around, trailing 83-76 when Milwaukee center Brook Lopez stepped to the free throw line with 5:16 remaining in the third quarter. But Lopez missed both foul shots, with T.J. McConnell rebounding the second miss and pushing the break.

As McConnell weaved his way to the rim, he spotted Turner running the floor and tossed the ball back to the big man as he streaked through the lane. Turner gathered and rose up from well outside the restricted arc. Lopez was there to contest, but Turner powered through him, throwing the ball through the rim with his right hand with authority.

Whether it was a dunk or something else is up for debate, but it certainly was a poster, reminiscent of two other memorable postseason dunks Turner previously had in this building, a baseline slam over Tristan Thompson in 2017 and a thunderous dunk over Gordon Hayward in 2019.

"Obviously it’s up there, but for me personally, I was just joking with my teammates — I feel like every postseason I get one of these since I’ve been in the league," Turner said of his dunk on Lopez. "So it’s nothing new for me. I tell them all the time, I’m not dunking the regular season, but postseason I’ll be straight. Got my legs right, just saw an opening and was able to make a great play."

The difference in this dunk and Turner's previous highlights? The Pacers lost both of those games. In fact, they were swept in both those series. This time, not only did the Pacers win, but they're now in the driver's seat to win the series.

On the possession after his posterizing moment, Turner spotted up in the left corner, caught a dish from McConnell, and drained a three, unleashing a primal scream in front of the Bucks' bench as the ball fell through the net.

Those five points helped trigger a 14-2 Indiana run that pushed the Pacers' lead to 17.

But the Bucks kept coming. Milwaukee used a 7-0 spurt at the start of the fourth quarter to make it a 98-92 game. It was still a six-point game when Turner hit a jumper with 9:17 to play. A minute later, he popped to the top of the key after setting a screen for Tyrese Haliburton. When both defenders went with Indiana's All-Star point guard, Haliburton kicked back to Turner, who drained the three.

Lopez missed a three on the other end, Nembhard grabbed the rebound, and then Crowder fouled Siakam. That's when the chants started serenading the Pacers center.

"That was special," Turner said. "I didn’t realize I hit the three while they were chanting my name. I saw that afterwards. But that was very special, just knowing how much the city means to me and they reciprocated that love.

"It was a dope moment for me. It’s definitely up there, and to happen in front of my family."

Moments like that are earned. Turner came to Indiana as a 19-year-old in 2015, when the Pacers drafted him with the 11th overall pick out of the University of Texas. Over the years, he's grown into a community pillar and a vocal leader of the locker room.

He's started for all nine of his seasons, playing alongside Paul George and George Hill, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, and now Tyrese Haliburton and Pascal Siakam. He's been a part of six playoff teams and stayed with the team through its recent rebuild, the one constant on a roster that has undergone several drastic transformations over the last decade.

Turner has sponsored a fan zone in Gainbridge Fieldhouse since 2016 and makes a point to give back to the community with his W.A.R.M. initiative. His family has become part of the Pacers family. They have seats in the front row on the south baseline. After Sunday's win, the 28-year-old shared an emotional embrace with them.

Turner is best known across the league for his rim protection, having led the league in blocks twice in his career. But he is also capable of stretching the floor as a shooter, something he proved on Sunday.

Turner's seven 3-pointers tied a Pacers playoff franchise record, joining a list with Chuck Person (1991), Reggie Miller (1995 and 2000), Paul George (2014), and Bojan Bogdanovic (2018) as the only players in franchise history to make seven threes in a postseason game.

Turner said he had studied film of his shooting stroke in recent games and noticed he was leaning more than he should be on his shot. He made some subtle adjustments to his form on Sunday and went 7-for-9 from distance.

"He was sensational on both ends of the floor," Pacers forward Pascal Siakam said. "Just playing with a lot of maturity and force, which is what we need from him…Just being a beast out there on both ends. He’s been great."

"He’s been doing it all year," McConnell added. "He's just the anchor to our defense and he can be a mismatch for a lot of teams the way he’s able to step out and make shots...He was obviously really, really good tonight and deserved that - those fans calling his name. He played really well."

No player was more excited for Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host playoff games this weekend than Turner, one of just two players on the roster (along with Doug McDermott) who played in the last playoff series in the building in 2019. When he was asked after Game 2 what his message was to Pacers fans ahead of this weekend, he responded, "Can I cuss? Scream y’alls (expletive) heads off."

The fans answered the call, with Turner providing many of the loudest moments. If he has his way, there are a lot more highlights yet to come this postseason.