Turner shined in his debut with Indy scoring 13 points on 6-12 shooting and grabbing 6 boards in 26 minutes in a 118-98 home win against the Lakers on Tuesday night. His second game wasn't as stellar, however, when two nights later he shot just 2-10 in 20 minutes as Indiana squeaked by the horrible Milwaukee Bucks 101-96.
The Milwaukee game is also somewhat of a metaphor for where the Pacers are at this point in the season.
Indiana is clinging to a tenuous two game lead over the hard charging Miami Heat in the East who have won 9 out their last 10.
Speaking of, the acquisition of Turner for Danny Granger is the move made by President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird designed to improve Indiana's bench play allowing them to keep the all important home court advantage come playoff time.
The Pacers had been 6-4 in their previous 10 prior to Turner joining the ball club including an inexplicable loss to Orlando away from home:
"I am excited about it," Bird told The Star on Friday afternoon. "(But) all the trades are tough when you get rid of a player you've always admired and went through some tough times with."
"I'm like you and everybody else, I don't think they've been playing very well," Bird said of his reserves. "If you look at the other teams in the league, and especially the East, there are teams that are starting to come together and play better.
"Obviously, Miami is Miami. They're going to win a lot of games. We just have to start pulling it all back together again and get on the right frame of mind and start playing together and winning together. We're built to win and we need to be winning especially when we're on the road."
The Pacers could also be getting some more size on the floor very soon as Andrew Bynum has been playing some three on three according to the Indianapolis Star:
Andrew Bynum practiced three-on-three Thursday, and Vogel said he was optimistic the 7-foot center would be ready to play soon. Soon doesn’t mean a week from now, the coach said.
“The goal is to get him to the point where he’s able to play every night,” Vogel said. “We don’t want him to play one game and sit three games….
“We know what we can expect from him when he’s healthy and in shape. He’s one of the best centers in the NBA,” Vogel said. “We’ve seen flashes of that in practice that he’s shown here.”
On the other end of the spectrum are the diminished Celtics who just found out Gerald Wallace is probably done for the season with a torn meniscus.
Jared Sullinger has already been out for the past three games due to a mild concussion, Avery Bradley will miss his eighth straight game with a sprained ankle and Kelly Olynyk likely won't play with a sprained toe that he suffered in the Celtics’ loss Feb. 22 at Sacramento.
Though, Sully is expected to return and play against the Pacers.
Boston is just too depleted and these are the type of games Indiana must not squander if they hope to retain home court.
Indiana 105 Boston 95
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Photo provided courtesy of USA Today Clint Corey 3/01/2014 11:00:00 AM Tweet