Pacers ditch small ball, find success with big line up

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Myles Turner #33 of the Indiana Pacers shoots the ball against Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks on January 28, 2016 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. ((Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images))

 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (January 29, 2016)-

After an off season of emphasizing that they wanted to play at a faster pace, three months into the 2015-16 schedule, the Pacers seemed to have deserted small ball.

The change from a small line up to a big line up, is all thanks to the emergence of rookie Myles Turner.

“There was a big change last night with Myles in our starting line up and us playing with two bigs,” Paul George said of their win last night over the Atlanta Hawks.

“I feel like we’re not just any 6’11 guys, we’re athletic, me and Ian,” Myles Turner said of he and fellow center Ian Mahinmi. “We both do different things out there.”

The 19 year old rookie shined in his first career start in the NBA. In 26 minutes Turner filled his stat line with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block. So was he nervous before his first start? Turner admitted he was, but once he’s on the court he’s simply focused on making a difference.

“It’s kind of cool to hear myself on the big screen when they announce my name as a starter like that,” Turner said at practice on Friday. “It’s different starting rather than coming off the bench because you have to go out there and make an impact right away. If you start you have to go out there and create a surge.”

Indiana’s win Thursday night over Atlanta, wasn’t just a win that snapped a three game losing streak, it was confirmation that a change has been made. Starting two 6-11 players means the big line up, is likely the permanent solution moving forward for the struggling Pacers, who before Thursday’s win, had lost 6 out of their last 7.

“This is who we’ve been this is how we’ve had a lot of success, having length at the basket,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “We held the Hawks to 39 percent shooting and dominated on the glass.”

The change has also made the Pacers’ all-star quite happy, and he certainly sounds like he hopes its a permanent change.

“It feels more natural,” George admitted. “We were trying to model the Golden State Warriors playing the small ball style, but you gotta give credit where credit is due; there’s only one Draymond Green in this league. I think we kind of tried to force CJ Miles to be that kind of player for us but Draymond is special at that position. So it was good for us to get back to being who we are and putting people in their natural positions.”

Frank Vogel would, of course, not say whether or not they would start their big line up on Saturday against the Nuggets, but the debate seems to be pointless after the success they had on Thursday night.

Indiana and Denver tip off tomorrow night at 7 P.M. at the Fieldhouse.

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