The Indiana Pacers closed out the 2017-18 preseason on a winning note, besting Israeli club Maccabi Haifa 108-89 on Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in their lone home game of the preseason.
Seven players scored in double figures for Indiana in the win, with a new-but-familiar face leading the way, as former Indiana University All-American Victor Oladipo racked up 18 points, five rebounds, four assists, and five steals in his first home game with the Blue & Gold.
“It’s good to play in front of the home crowd, be on our home floor, and get familiar with everything,” Oladipo said. “It’s great to be in this locker room, it’s great to play with these guys, it has been a great training camp so far.
“Now we’ve got to get ready for the real thing.”
Oladipo looked sharp early, scoring eight early points to trigger a 14-5 Indiana run to open Tuesday’s contest. Oladipo drained two 3-pointers in that stretch and also corralled a steal and whipped a one-handed pass ahead to Bojan Bogdanovic for an easy layup.
All told, Indiana dominated the opening quarter, going 12-for-21 from the field and forcing Maccabi Haifa into 11 turnovers to race out to a 36-16 lead. Oladipo alone amassed 13 points (going 3-for-3 from 3-point range) and three steals in the frame.
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Indiana cooled off a bit offensively in the second quarter and allowed the visitors to trim the deficit to 10 at one point, but still took a 62-50 lead into the break.
A few minutes of sloppy play to start the second half, however, allowed Maccabi Haifa back into the game. The Pacers’ starters committed five turnovers in the first 3:11 of the third quarter, helping the guests open the frame with a 10-2 run that trimmed the deficit to four.
Maccabi twice made it a three-point game in the ensuing minutes before backup point guard Cory Joseph checked in for Darren Collison. Indiana reeled off a 14-1 run over a 3:30 stretch immediately following Joseph’s entrance, pushing the margin back to double digits.
“That was good for us,” Oladipo said. “It gave us a little bit of a challenge, a little bit of adversity. I thought it was great how we responded. Now we just have to build on it.”
Maccabi Haifa never seriously threatened the rest of the way as the Pacers put the finishing touches on a 3-1 preseason.
Domantas Sabonis (12 points and 13 rebounds) and Thaddeus Young (11 points and 10 boards) each recorded double-doubles in the win.
Collison finished with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting while Bogdanovic had 13 points, three rebounds, and four assists for Indiana. They were joined in double figures by Myles Turner (12 points) and Lance Stephenson (10 points and three assists).
Former NBA star Josh Smith led Maccabi Haifa with 16 points and seven rebounds. Angel Rodriguez added 15 points and four assists in the loss.
Inside the Numbers
Both teams had a host of turnovers on the evening. Maccabi Haifa committed 26 and the Pacers had 23 giveaways, with Oladipo and Turner each amassing five.
Indiana had 23 assists on 36 field goals, with Joseph dishing out a team-high five dimes.
Rookie forward TJ Leaf finished with seven points and two rebounds, going 3-for-7 from the field and 1-for-3 from 3-point range, in his first game at The Fieldhouse.
The Pacers outscored Maccabi Haifa 15-7 in fastbreak points.
You Can Quote Me On That
“As I told our guys, I was happy with the training camp. I thought they did pretty much everything we asked them to do. They came in and worked extremely hard every day that we practiced and in games they played hard, but we’re not close to where we need to be.” -Pacers head coach Nate McMillan
“I thought the last two games have been a lot of one-on-one play as opposed to the quick ball movement that we had in the first game. We’re holding onto the ball and guys are looking for their own utilities.” -McMillan on areas for improvement
“He’ll bring a toughness and determination every night. He does a lot of great things. He’s a great basketball player. He comes from a great lineage with his dad, so he knows how to play the game, and he’s going to make the team better so I am glad that he’s here.” -Oladipo on Sabonis
“I like how positive everybody is. I like the spirit and I like the fact that everybody is picking each other up. I like the togetherness of this group so far. That’s one of the positives that we can take away.” -Turner
Stat of the Night
Were Tuesday’s exhibition a regular season game, Sabonis’ 13 rebounds would have been a new career high. He had 10 rebounds in two games as a rookie last season with Oklahoma City.
- Though he was initially listed as out, rookie center Ike Anigbogu played 2:46 at the end of Tuesday’s game after logging 22:42 in Monday’s loss in Detroit. The team is being cautious with Anigbogu as he recovers from a knee injury he suffered during a pre-draft workout.
- Former Pacers radio and television broadcaster Jerry Baker made his debut as the new PA announcer, replacing Michael Grady, who took a position with the Brooklyn Nets.
- Smith and former University of Louisville forward Samardo Samuels joined Maccabi Haifa as non-roster invitees for the club’s three-game American tour against NBA teams.
The Pacers tip off the 2017-18 regular season by hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Opening Night presented by Kroger on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »