It’s been a long time coming. Myles Turner, the rookie stud set to become the new “beast” of the Pacers (since David West’s departure), finally got his first start of the season.
And he delivered. On a night where Paul George (who came in with back-to-back 30+ games) struggled with foul trouble and scored only 11 points (zero in the first half), Turner continued his solid production with 20 points, 6 boards and a block on 9-17 shooting in 26 minutes. I would have liked to have seen 30+ minutes from him as a starter, though it’s hard to complain when the Pacers broke open a close game in the fourth quarter with little contribution from Turner (Monta Ellis, who finished with 26, was the main catalyst) to cruise to a 111-92 victory.
Most importantly, the Pacers finally got a win against a quality opponent to stop their recent slide and remain afloat, albeit barely, in the Eastern Conference rat race. At 24-22, the Pacers hold on to the 8th seed, a game behind Detroit and Miami and 2 games ahead of Charlotte.
With a home-heavy schedule the rest of the way, this is a good time to turn the corner with Turner (pun intended). If he can continue to develop at the current pace, the Pacers will be in good shape come playoff time, as Paul George will likely be reinvigorated to his early season status, Monta Ellis will be even more comfortable, and Rodney Stuckey will be hopefully healthy. If CJ Miles can re-find his stroke by then that will be a huge bonus.
Next up, Denver at home on Saturday.