Wesley Matthews is the New Lance Stephenson

What if I told you the Indiana Pacers have an unreliable shooter who will shoot you out of a game for three quarters, catch fire in the fourth, hit a dagger three right in the enemy’s face of a game that’s become closer than it needed to be, energize the crowd, and get everyone on Twitter to love him? “But Fox,” you might be saying, “Lance Stephenson is on the Lakers now.” Well, get ready for a Scooby-Doo ending of a reveal, because Wesley Matthews made his Pacers debut Monday, missed his first six shots, hit just 2-of-10 overall, but …

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Breakfast Special: Paul George is Kevin Durant 2.0

How is it possible for a guy to average a triple-double for the third straight season—as Russell Westbrook has been doing—and somehow be thought of by near-universal consensus as the second-best player on his own team? The answer, as even a cursory glance at an Oklahoma City Thunder game will tell you, is “because Paul George is making a heck of an MVP case.” PG13 had 47 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, upstaging Westbrook’s record-setting 10th consecutive triple-double (21 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists) in the Thunder’s 120-111 win over the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night. Westbrook shot 5-of-19 …

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Breakfast Special: LA Finally Beats Boston at Something

The city of Boston has, in recent months, gone to town on the sports teams from the city of Los Angeles. Thursday night on TNT, LA got one back: A regular-season basketball game between a team whose star player tried and failed to trade away all of his teammates and another team that sometimes looks like a Finals contender and sometimes looks like the Knicks. Come to think of it, the Celtics lost to the Knicks at home earlier this season. And this time, Boston lost to LA 129-128 on a buzzer-beater from former Celtic Rajon Rondo: RONDO. GAME. pic.twitter.com/AjG34xhn2u …

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Breakfast Special: Lakers Softer Than Chris Denari’s Water

Pacers fans have for the past 13 years been blessed with the best play-by-play man you’ve probably never heard of, and Chris Denari did his 1,000th broadcast for Fox Sports Indiana (and for those of you in the national audience who don’t get the joke in the headline, Denari is spokesman for a water-softener company in the Hoosier State, a source of affectionate catchphrases from the Pacers faithful.) The team rose to the occasion, giving Denari and his partner Quinn Buckner plenty to talk about as they turned a Kinetico riot hose on the Lakers and sprayed them down to …

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The Pacers Are Learning What They Have Without Victor Oladipo

When Victor Oladipo went down for 12 games earlier in the season (yes, technically it was 11, but there was just about the entirety of the game against the Hawks), the Indiana Pacers largely weathered the injury by way of inserting Tyreke Evans into Oladipo’s spot, playing the same way they more or less had all season, and letting the results stand or fall until such time as Oladipo returned. They went 8-4 that way, as Evans, who started all the games in which Oladipo was out, made a passable (“good” is a gross overstatement, but competent) account of himself, …

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Free Agents, Lowered Expectations, and the Indiana Pacers

“The Indiana Pacers never sign big-time free agents.” Or so every fan has told me since I traded boxing gloves for basketballs as the medium by which my sportswriting reaches a computer or mobile device in the hands of you, the willing reader, back in 2015. It started back in dinosaur times when I playfully suggested Kevin Durant take his talents to Indiana alongside Paul George, pointing out that for Durant, if he were truly done with Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City, it’d be a prime chance to create a legacy that was truly his own in a market where …

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Breakfast Special: P Is For Powerless

Some days, you watch basketball and wonder if perhaps your time wouldn’t be better taken up by just changing hobbies. Like becoming a grizzly bear wrangler. Or an “experience collector” in North Korean labor camps. OK, so life isn’t THAT bad for Pacers fans, not when if you really want to experience the frozen wastes of Jotunheim in this mortal life, you need only step outside in Indianapolis this morning. But without Victor Oladipo, and with Myles Turner still not quite wholly sure how to be the focal point of an offense while maintaining his defensive intensity, and with Tyreke …

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No, the Indiana Pacers Are Not Lost Without Victor Oladipo

Throughout the 2018-19 season, the Indiana Pacers have built a 31-15 record largely on the strength of having the deepest team in the league. It’s not just that the Pacers can’t find space in the rotation for the likes of Aaron Holiday, Edmond Sumner, and Alize Johnson. Rookies have never fared well under “veterans’ coach” guys like Nate McMillan and Gregg Popovich no matter where in the league they’ve played. No, it’s that the Pacers can’t find space in the rotation for a legit NBA backup center like Kyle O’Quinn. Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis are so good that O’Quinn …

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Breakfast Special: Oladi-NOOOO!

I…think I’m going to be sick. Pacers Twitter went from “we’re going to finish the job and thump Toronto this time” to “oh God the season is over, blow up the team, trade Boomer, start tanking” in as much time as it took Victor Oladipo to crumple to the court with a “serious knee injury”—Oladipo will have an MRI Thursday (and Pace and Space will have a feature about it, I’m not writing a word about the future of the team until we know exactly what’s going on.) Indiana saw a lead steadily erode in the second half but got …

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We Can’t Talk About NBA Defense. That’s a Problem.

There was an offhand remark in a recent Zach Lowe column on ESPN that pointed out Klay Thompson‘s positive attributes as a wing defender, and Thompson enjoys a reputation as one of the premier stoppers in the league whenever he’s got a man in front of him. Anyone who watches Warriors games can see it. But on the other hand, Thompson’s advanced defensive metrics range from “mediocre” to “utterly putrid, like among the worst in the league” when you look him up on Basketball Reference, his 112 Defensive Rating, minus-2.2 Defensive Box Plus-Minus, and that stat’s subsequent drag on his …

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