The Indiana Pacers took another preseason loss on the road on Tuesday night as they fell 122-103 to the Houston Rockets. Without Tyrese Haliburton running the show, Indiana’s offense has looked understandably inconsistent. Despite the defeat, a handful of young Pacers played some phenomenal basketball, including Aaron Nesmith.
Nesmith stole the show by scoring 18 points in 20 minutes. The fourth-year wing poured in 11 of his points in the first half, and he ended the night shooting 7-of-9 from the field and a perfect 3of-3 from the free throw line. Nesmith averaged 10.1 points per game last season and started in 60 of his 73 games. The 23-year-old shot a solid 36.6% from downtown.
Through his first two preseason contests, Aaron Nesmith is averaging 13.5 points off the bench on 53.3% shooting. Since he came into the league with the Boston Celtics, the former Vanderbilt standout has always brought plenty of energy to the court. He has developed his court awareness and shot consistency with the Pacers over the last year, transforming himself into more than just a “hustle guy.”
Three other Pacers reached double-digit scoring. Like Nesmith, they were all 23 years old or younger.
Bennedict Mathurin displayed why he and Haliburton led Indiana’s youth movement. The 21-year-old Canadian dug in for 14 points in 18 minutes. Across his first two preseason outings, Mathurin has averaged 16 points on 47.8% shooting in just 20 minutes per game.
Mathurin enters his second NBA season on the heels of an electric rookie year that included an All-Rookie first-team selection. The talented two-guard averaged 16.7 points per game across 78 appearances.
Pacers rookie Ben Sheppard joined in on the fun with an impressive 11-point showing. This year’s No. 26 pick dropped four dimes and snagged four rebounds while sinking a team-high three 3-pointers. No other Pacer hit multiple threes on a night where the team shot an abysmal 10/42 from deep.
Meanwhile, Jalen Smith put up 11 points in 12 minutes with a team-high plus-minus of +9. The stretch big made all five of his field goal attempts. He joined Nesmith as one of only two Pacers to shoot at least 50% from the field while hitting multiple shots in the process.
After a dreadful 37-of-91 performance from the field, the Pacers will have to wait almost a week before their next preseason game. Indy will head home to host the Atlanta Hawks at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Monday, Oct. 16.