During the second half of the Pacers rout of the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, a member of the crowd yelled out to the team’s newest addition Evan Turner.
“Hey Evan, isn’t this a lot more fun than Philadelphia?”
Turner had a quick smile come across his face, and who could blame him? Turner, who was acquired along with Lavoy Allen in the trade that sent Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers, hadn’t been on the winning side of a basketball contest since Jan. 26. Now Turner just happens to be part of a team with the best record in the Eastern Conference, a Pacers squad (43-13) that blew out the Los Angeles Lakers (19-38) by the final of 118-98.
“It’s always great to win,” said Turner. “That’s why you play the game. I’m a competitor, it’s great to win. I’m definitely happy, and when you go through rough patches like we did in Philly, sometimes you appreciate every single one that you get.”
The fourth-year veteran looked comfortable in his debut wearing the blue and gold jersey, knocking down 13 points off the bench on 6-12 shooting, and added in six rebounds to go with it. Overall Pacers Head Coach Frank Vogel was very happy with his, and Lavoy Allen’s (three rebounds in 4:34 of play) performances, but more impressed by another double-digit win at home.
“I think there was a different energy to start the game,” said Vogel. “We had a little bit of a lull in the second quarter, but we picked it back up in the third. Every time guys are playing with a new teammate there is a different chemistry being established, and guys are looking for each other. I think it has come at the right time.”
Indiana took a 57-54 lead over Los Angeles after the first half, but the Pacers ramped up their defense in the third quarter and outscored the Lakers 34-16, ultimately opening the game into a blowout.
Outside of Turner’s debut many Pacers had standout moments, from a Lance Stephenson (13 points, 9 rebounds) slam dunk in the first quarter, a Paul George (20 points, 7 rebounds) alley-oop in the third, and CJ Watson (11 points) shooting 5-6 from the field off the bench. Overall all five of the Pacers scored in double-digits, and Ian Mahinmi finished with 9 points with 4 rebounds as well.
Overall it was a successful night for the Pacers, and for their newest additions.
“I was pretty comfortable in a whole sense with the team,” said Turner. “I was just nervous, but I’m definitely comfortable. Everybody has taken some time and helped me out a lot. Rasual (Butler) was on the bench getting me keyed in on what we are going to do and everything, it just helped out tremendously.”