The Indiana Pacers have responded favorably since sustaining a narrow loss to the New York Knicks last month.
Winners of eight of their last 10 games, the Pacers aim to exact a bit of revenge on Wednesday night when they visit the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Myles Turner collected 29 points, nine rebounds and four blocks to lift Indiana to a 116-111 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
Winning close games is nothing new for the Pacers, who have recorded single-digit margins of victory on seven occasions over the last 10 games.
“Just trust, trust, trust, trust. I’m telling you, man, there’s just no ego in this locker room. Not at all,” Turner said, when asked why his team is winning close games lately.
Suffice it to say, there’s a level of trust that Indiana coach Rick Carlisle has in Turner. Carlisle on Saturday compared the 26-year-old center to one of the franchise’s all-time greats in six-time All-Star Jermaine O’Neal.
“There’s some guys that step on the floor and bring a presence and energy and confidence to the game,” Carlisle said. “I coached Jermaine O’Neal here for a stretch of four years, and Jermaine had that. It was something that kind of quietly was uplifting to his teammates.
“Myles is in his prime. He’s playing the best he’s ever played. He’s a bona fide, certified leader in our locker room. He does it the right way. He does it with actions and not words, and yet when he talks people listen.”
Turner is averaging career-high bests in points (17.0), shooting percentage (55.2) and rebounds (7.9).
Buddy Hield, who scored 21 points on Saturday, matched Aaron Nesmith with a team-high 23 in the Pacers’ 109-106 setback to the Knicks on Dec. 18.
Jalen Brunson scored 30 points in that game and erupted for a career-high 44 on Monday. However, he was left lamenting a few of his mistakes during the fourth quarter of a 111-107 setback to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
“We got to continue to grind to get better. We got to learn from this. I got to learn from this. I gotta treat possessions like they mean the world to me, I can’t just have those mistakes,” Brunson said after the Knicks allowed a 17-point lead go by the boards.
“Take on the challenge, play as hard as you can,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But we fell short in the end.”
Immanuel Quickley started in place of the injured RJ Barrett (hand) and finished with 23 points. Quickley made 9 of 14 shots from the floor.
Julius Randle, who collected 25 points and 14 rebounds in the previous encounter versus Indiana, had 25 and 16, respectively, on Monday.
Good numbers to be certain, however he missed his first eight attempts from 3-point range and finished 1 for 12 from beyond the arc.
Randle was quite succinct when summing up his performance.
“It’s a make-or-miss league,” Randle said, per the New York Post.
–Field Level Media