Why Pacers fans should remain encouraged despite loss to the Wizards

Tyrese Haliburton - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Haliburton - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Yes, the Indiana Pacers lost last night. They fell 112-107 after a valiant comeback effort came up just short. It won’t be the last loss from this team either. They aren’t a very good team and showed that on Wednesday night. Even so, there are some positives to still take from last night’s opener.

One of those positives is the play of Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton clearly showed that he is the Pacers’ best player and it’s not particularly close. He finished with 26 points on 10/18 shooting and 3/6 from deep. He also contributed seven assists and four rebounds.

Haliburton showed that his game has developed even since last year. He’s the only guy in the starting lineup that can create for others. He and Chris Duarte are the only guys who can create their own shot in the starting lineup, and Haliburton was more aggressive in doing so.

Bennedict Mathurin was also a bright spot. Mathurin finished with 19 points off the bench and added seven rebounds as well. He played with the same ferocity that he did in the preseason and was able to hit 3/7 from deep too. He’s not going to be coming off the bench for long.

Even though the Indiana Pacers lost, they learned a lot about their lineups.

The bench is going to be a problem. Only Mathurin was able to score in double-digits against the Wizards. The rest of the bench scored 17 points combined. It didn’t help that Jalen Smith had to start at center because Myles Turner rolled his ankle because of a ball boy.

Because of this freak injury, that screwed up the bench rotations. It looks like it will for the next week or so as well. But, the bench will have time to get used to this rotation and get some continuity together and play better in the future.

This is honestly the type of game I want to see from the Pacers. I want to see them play hard, play competitive games, and come up just short. This team isn’t close to playoff caliber, so we want as many losses as possible to make sure Indiana has the best possible shot at landing Victor Wembanyama.

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We’ll see how well they play Friday night against a Spurs team that is equally bad. That’s a game Indiana could win.