Pacers ground Rockets in Indiana’s preseason opener


The Indiana Pacers kicked off their preseason with an easy-ish win in Houston.

The Indiana Pacers won their first game of the 2018-19 campaign with a preseason win over the Houston Rockets:

169. 110. 100. Final. 100

The game was at one point tied at 73, but the Pacers were able to pull away thanks to a big fourth quarter led by Domantas Sabonis. He was both the offensive initiator and play finisher, doing a little bit of everything to keep the offense running.

The team was led by none other than Victor Oladipo, because duh. He had 24 points in 24 minutes, and he looked like his former self (heck, maybe even better) throughout the whole game.

The Good: Holy Moly, Edmond Sumner! With Tyreke Evans sidelined with an injury, Sumner filled in as the fourth guard in the rotation, and he played outstanding. It was quite literally his first-ever extended time on an NBA court, and he looked like one of the better players:

Sumner finished the game with 13 points in 18 minutes and shot 6/8 from the field. He was a +18 and had multiple highlight plays. Welcome to the NBA.

The Bad: Doug McDermott played 35 minutes and only scored two points. His outside shot was not falling at all, he missed all four of his looks from beyond the arc. Additionally, his defense looked as poor as was advertised before he signed with the team. He was a -13 and had a rough introduction to Indiana Pacers fans.

MVP: Victor Oladipo is always the MVP when he plays like this. Scoring one point per minute on 50 percent shooting is MVP stuff. Vic had it tonight, and he looks like he’s going to have another killer season.

LVP: Sorry, Darren Collison. It just wasn’t your night. 2/10 from the field and two turnovers meant that DC wasn’t really helping on offense outside of spacing the floor. Nothing Collison did really stood out, and he looked worse than his backup Cory Joseph in this one. This was not the start to the 2018-19 campaign that DC was hoping for.

X-Factor: Sabonis. He had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and he carried the team at times in the fourth quarter. His +17 was one of the better figures on the team, and he was an integral part of the win.

Now let’s assign some grades.

C -. The LVP. He couldn’t hit shots and his league-leading assist/turnover ratio last season wasn’t matched in this game. He should bounce back when he isn’t matching up with Chris Paul.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

VICTOR OLADIPO. A. Victor Oladipo was Victor Oladipo. Season two of Vic owning Indianapolis is coming soon.. SG. Indiana Pacers

B -. Bojan quietly hit 60 percent of his five three-pointers in this one, including a sweet buzzer beater to end the third quarter. He wasn’t sharp on D, but Babo Baretta was solid overall.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

:(. Get well soon, Thad. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER. C +. Turner did show some signs of his bodily transformation in this game with a monster dunk and his typically solid interior defense. But his hands were weak and he fumbled the ball a few times while also having some soft finishes. He will have better showings.. C

A -. Four fouls (Sabonis’ biggest pitfall last season) was the only thing to gripe about with Domas’ performance. He looked great in the post and on the glass, and he had a nasty block on a James Ennis dunk attempt.. C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS

Indiana Pacers. TYREKE EVANS. :(. Go hang out with Thad someplace where neither of you can aggravate your injury any further. Just get healthy.. SG

B +. CoJo had a nice shifty finish under the basket and he looked comfortable running the second unit with Tyreke Evans sidelined. He also hit 57 percent of his shots and was a +13. Overall, it was a solid game from an underrated player.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

D -. Domantas Sabonis found McD on a beautiful back cut that would have led to a sweet bucket if not for an off-ball foul. Outside of cutting, McD looked really bad, though. The outside shot needs to fall.. SF. Indiana Pacers. DOUG MCDERMOTT

Indiana Pacers. KYLE O'QUINN. Smiley. O’Quinn didn’t play, and he won’t play much when Sabonis and Turner are healthy. But he was smiley and happy like always.. C

So, um, Leaf was like, kinda good? Nobody saw it coming after a poor summer league, but TJ looked really effective, especially on the offensive glass. He pulled in seven offensive rebounds and posted a double-double. His defense was suspect, but he looked like an NBA player out there, which is a huge step up from last year.. PF. Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF. B

AARON HOLIDAY. B -. Aaron Holiday scored his first NBA points at the free-throw line in this one, which is awesome. All three of his points came from the charity stripe, and he missed his only shot. He looked comfortable with the ball, so overall his short stint of playing time was admirable.. PG. Indiana Pacers

Ike didn’t play as McMillan decided to push for the victory and play his real rotation. Maybe we will see him soon.. C. Indiana Pacers. IKE ANIGBOGU. N/A

Indiana Pacers. ALIZE JOHNSON. Gaga. After seeing Alize sing “Just Dance” at fan jam, we saw him just watch in this one. I’m excited to observe this guy, I hope he gets to play soon.. PF

A +. Sumner was easily the biggest surprise of the game. He got to play thanks to Tyreke’s injury, but he looked awesome as the backup shooting guard, doing a little bit of everything on offense. Some of the athleticism that made him such an attractive prospect is back. Sumner could become a contributor this season.. PG. Indiana Pacers. EDMOND SUMNER

Moore didn’t play, which is a shame since he is fighting for a roster spot.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BEN MOORE. N/A

PF. Indiana Pacers. OMARI JOHNSON. N/A. After being acquired by the organization not too long ago, Johnson sat this one out. Perhaps we will see him later in the preseason.

Rotting. After dressing up as a banana (get it, that’s why he was rotting!) at fan jam, Stewart didn’t get to play in this one. Like Johnson and Moore, we will probably see him later in the preseason.. SG. Indiana Pacers. ELIJAH STEWART

The Pacers next game is in Memphis on Saturday. Maybe we will get to see more guys play in that game. Stay tuned for more preseason coverage.