Pacers vs Thunder

Pacers Discuss Increased Bench Production

Nov. 11, 2019 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and forward Doug McDermott discuss the improved play of Indiana's bench, including the addition of Alize Johnson to the rotation.

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Pacers Discuss Increased Bench Production

Nov. 11, 2019 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and forward Doug McDermott discuss the improved play of Indiana's bench, including the addition of Alize Johnson to the rotation.
Nov 11, 2019  |  01:52

Game Preview: Pacers vs Thunder

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss





Matchup

The suddenly surging Pacers (6-4) will look to keep the good times rolling on Tuesday, when they welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-6) to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Indiana has won three straight and five of its last six despite a string of injuries. The Blue & Gold have won three in a row despite not having starters Jeremy Lamb and Myles Turner for any of those games and without backup center Goga Bitadze in the last two.

Playing with just 10 healthy players, the Pacers have gotten major contributions from all of them in their past few victories. The most important development in recent games may be Indiana's drastically improved bench production.

The Pacers' reserves averaged just 18 points per game over their first four games this season, but they've since topped 35 points in five of their last six contests (the one game they didn't — at Charlotte last Tuesday — is the only game Indiana has dropped in that stretch).

The dynamic duo of Doug McDermott and T.J. McConnell have led the bench mob over the latest stretch. McDermott is averaging 17 points over his last three games, going 19-for-34 (55.9 percent) from the field and 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) from 3-point range. McConnell, meanwhile, tallied 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting and nine assists in Friday's win over Detroit and followed that up with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and eight assists in Sunday's win in Orlando.

The Thunder look very different this season after trading away Paul George and Russell Westbrook over the offseason. The Clippers' chief acquisition in those trades was a horde of future first-round draft picks, but they also landed a potential future All-Star in second-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Playing alongside veteran point guard Chris Paul, the 11th overall pick in the 2018 Draft has looked the part in his first 10 games with the Thunder, averaging 21 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Aaron Holiday, SF - T.J. Warren, PF - JaKarr Sampson, C - Domantas Sabonis
Thunder: PG - Chris Paul, SG - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, SF - Terrance Ferguson, PF - Danilo Gallinari, C - Steven Adams

Injury Report

Pacers: Myles Turner - questionable (right ankle sprain), Goga Bitadze - out (concussion), Jeremy Lamb - out (left ankle sprain), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee surgery rehab), Edmond Sumner - out (right hand fracture)

Thunder: Steven Adams - questionable (left knee contusion), Andre Roberson - out (return to play management)

Last Meeting

March 27, 2019: The Thunder outscored the Pacers 31-15 in a decisive third quarter on their way to a 107-99 win in Oklahoma City.

"That was basically the game," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. "Offensively, we just didn't get organized. We had some turnovers in that stretch, and they made their run and were able to get the momentum to just really take control of the game."

Paul George scored a game-high 31 points for the Thunder. Steven Adams added 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook collected a triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Indiana with 28 points, going 11-for-20 from the field and 6-for-9 from 3-point range. Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, while Myles Turner tallied 12 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won four of their last six meetings against the Thunder at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
  • Domantas Sabonis spent his rookie season starting alongside Steven Adams in the Oklahoma City frontcourt, averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in the 2016-17 season. The Thunder acquired Sabonis in a draft night trade with Orlando and sent him to Indiana along with Victor Oladipo in exchange for Paul George in July 2017.
  • The Pacers have two players who currently rank in the top five in the NBA in a major statistical category. Malcolm Brogdon is third in the NBA in assists (8.9 per game), while Sabonis is tied for fifth in rebounding (13.0 per contest).

Tickets

The Pacers return to Bankers Life Fiedhouse to host Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.

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