More than 16,000 fans were in attendance to witness the Indiana Pacers take on the Washington Wizards in the home opener of the 2023-24 NBA season Oct. 25. The Hickory Hopeful remained grounded in the second-half to defeat the Wizards 143-120 in a high-scoring battle at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
“The atmosphere in [Gainbridge Fieldhouse] was unbelievable,” Pacers fan Devon Caldwell-Valdez said. “I’m really glad we got the dub.”
This pessimism was justified by the battle leaning toward becoming a record-setting game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, as the Pacers were a bucket away from tying the record for most points in a home game by the franchise.
There is a strong chance that the Pacers balled out because NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was in attendance for the home opener. Silver was in town promoting the 2024 All-Star festivities scheduled for February in downtown Indianapolis.
The star of the evening was Bruce Brown. The Pacer secured the champion forward from the Denver Nuggets earlier in the offseason for his two-way prowess. Brown is already living up to his two-year $45 million deal with Indiana.
“Our offense is so random anybody can score the ball,” Brown said. “Tonight, it was me.”
Brown amassed 24 points, three rebounds, one steal and one dime while shooting 72% from two and 75% from beyond the arc in the Pacers home opener.
Pacers fan William Castetter said he was “excited to see Tyrese Haliburton and Obi Toppin get to work for the first time in the regular season.” The duo did not disappoint Castetter.
Pacers star point guard Tyrese Haliburton did what he does best during their home opener and executed the offense with precision, racking up 20 points and 11 assists. Haliburton only yielded three turnovers.
Obi Toppin also proved effective in the first game of the NBA regular season, notching up 11 points and four boards. Toppin showcased his ability to stretch the floor, knocking down two three-pointers.
Haliburton also inked a massive deal with the Pacers this offseason. The flashy playmaker signed a five-year $260 million max contract with the Pacers July 1. The organization acquired Obi Toppin a week later.
Pacers shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin balled out against Washington. Mathurin, who is in his sophomore season, put up 18 points, four rebounds and five assists.
The Pacers’ bench also proved effective against Washington, outscoring the Wizards’ bench 59-46. The bench attack was led by Jalen Smith, Buddy Hield and Andrew Nembhard, putting up a combined 39 points.
Forwards Jalen Smith and Myles Turner led the team in rebounds, securing eight boards each.
The Pacers’ next game is against the Cleveland Cavaliers Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Visit Ticketmaster for more information.
Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral. For more sports stories from Noral, click here. You can also check out the Indiana Minority Business Magazine by clicking here.