The full potential of this Indiana Pacers team is staggering.
After beating the Boston Celtics Sunday night in a nail-biter one-point victory, the Blue and Gold took their first loss to Brad Stevens and company 116-111 on Tuesday. The Celtics outscored the Pacers 33-17 in the 4th quarter and Jayson Tatum dropped 27 points with 11 boards.
Staying undefeated would have been ideal, but Nate Bjorkgren’s team played yet another hard nosed game. Victor Oladipo scored 24 more points and has at least 20 in each of the three contests he has suited up for.
“Every game isn’t going to be perfect,” Oladipo said. “We were fortunate to win last game and there were things we needed to improve, just like tonight. The ceiling for this team is very scary. We could be a very good team once we figure everything out.”
Chemistry is still building with the group and rookie head coach. The 3-0 start was Indiana’s best since 2013-14. Now it’s back to the drawing board as the club prepares to face Cleveland on New Year’s Eve. The Pacers lost to the Cavaliers twice during the preseason.
But back to tonight against Boston. Domantas Sabonis is balling out.
Even with the defeat, Sabonis continues to average a double-double and posted another on the Bankers Life floor. He’s going to continue being a problem for opponents this entire season.
Turnovers were even between both teams 14-14. But Boston got to the foul line 37 times. Bjorkgren told the media following the game that he can tell his team is building trust.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball better,” Bjorkgren said. “But they’re not selfish turnovers. It was a very physical game on both ends with a lot of hits and bumps. But our guys are trying to make the right play for their teammates.”
Oh, and Myles Turner is averaging 5.7 blocks per game. He swatted away another three on Tuesday.
His 5.7 blocks are more than 19 NBA teams average combined. Is that good?
Bjorkgren’s crew is oozing with potential. It’s just a matter of time until they’re running on all cylinders.