Negative: Shooting woes linger and shot creation is scarce
It’s hard to win a basketball game when you shoot 13% from anywhere on the court, much less the three-point line, and especially when you combine that with 58% shooting from the free-throw line.
To sum it up, the Indiana Pacers shot like the rim was moving tonight. They shot like they had blindfolds on and were just guessing where the basket was. Besides Ben Sheppard, who shot 2/4 from three in garbage time, no Pacer made more than one three and shot over 25%, with Andrew Nembhard being the worst offender, shooting 6/17 from the field and a disgusting 1/7 from behind the arc.
Many of these attempts were good looks as well. The Indiana Pacers just missed them. Whether it be a lack of confidence in their shooting ability, discouragement from the Chicago loss, or a third reason, the Pacers could not find the bottom of the net from three or from the free-throw line for the most part.
This brings up another lingering issue that the Pacers would ultimately have to face sooner or later, that being the complete lack of shot creation on the team save for a few players.
Tyrese Haliburton is by far the best shot-creator on this Pacers team. That much is certain. So far, Haliburton is the only Pacer to whom you can give the ball and tell him to go get a bucket on the defense.
While Bennedict Mathurin is getting there, he is a bit too inconsistent to have that role just yet, and despite the improvements Myles Turner has made, he will more or less be seen as a spot-up shooter and penetrator for the most part. The shot-creating duties on this Pacers team belong to Tyrese Haliburton, and he usually delivers.
The problem with relying on one guy for your shot-creating duties is when that player sits out, and you have to rely on the others. That problem was on full display tonight, as while the Pacers shot a decent 45% from the field, they just did not fare well creating shots on their own.
This was not helped by Mathurin only taking seven shots and not getting as many touches as people would have liked to see.
In fact, despite being the team’s second option most of the time, Mathurin only took the seventh-most shots on the team, a baffling decision when you realize guys like Jordan Nwora took more shots than him, and even more baffling when you look at the stat sheet a bit closer and notice that Mathurin only played 15 minutes, third-least on the team.
While we are only four games into the season, and it is way too early to panic, this does raise some early red flags about the Indiana Pacers and needs to be something Rick Carlisle should tweak going forward. If this is the last game where Jordan Nwora is getting more minutes and shots than Bennedict Mathurin, consider it a positive.
Speaking of over-reliance on Haliburton…