At the center of Indiana’s ascendancy is a steadfast pillar turner.
The Indiana Pacers defeated the Boston Celtics 122-112 in a 2023-2024 NBA regular-season game and in-season tournament quarterfinal at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, on Friday night.
Tyreese Halliburton was the star of the game. Halliburton recorded a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists, while committing zero turnovers. Halliburton was held to seven points in the first half, but exploded for 19 points in the second half to lead Indiana to the final four of the in-season tournament.
Indiana had another cog in the wheel. It was sophomore center Myles Turner. Turner finished with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Boston lost Kristaps Porzingis to injury and felt his absence acutely. Turner, on the other hand, dominated under the basket. Along with Halliburton’s performance, Turner’s dominance under the basket was a huge factor in the game.
Indiana is currently 11-8 in the 2023-2024 season, tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Halliburton’s MVP-caliber play, beyond being an All-Star, is almost too good to mention. And don’t forget about Turner.
Turner is averaging 16.6 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game in the 2023-2024 season. Indiana has the best offense in the NBA this season. But the problem is the defense. With the team’s schemes and players all focused on offense, the defense is bound to be relatively weak. Turner is the only player on Indiana’s roster who can be relied upon on defense. Turner is known for being one of the best blockers in the NBA. He’s led the league in blocks for two seasons.
This season, he’s still averaging 2.1 blocks per game and is a stalwart on the perimeter for Indiana. Turner’s struggles are legion. When Indiana’s weak frontcourt defenders allow penetration, it’s Turner’s job to cover it. Without Turner, Indiana’s defense would be one of the worst in the league.
Interestingly, Turner is the most talked about player in the NBA in trade rumors. It’s hard to find a player who isn’t an All-Star who has been talked about more in trade rumors.
Drafted by Indiana with the 11th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Turner was a steady performer. But he never became an All-Star caliber big man, and the Pacers had a quality big man in Domantas Sabonis. Indiana tried a big lineup with both Sabonis and Turner, and it was a cold disappointment. Unlike Savonis, who became an All-Star caliber big man, Turner’s game stagnated, which is why he was a regular in trade rumors.
But the trade was for Sabonis. Indiana made a big trade for Halliburton in exchange for Savonis, and Turner stayed in Indiana. He and Halliburton have led the Pacers this season. It’s a fun story.