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Siakam makes debut at Gainbridge, Pacers fall to Nuggets 114-109

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More than 16,000 Fans assembled at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Downtown Indianapolis Jan. 23 to witness the NBA Champion Denver Nuggets take on the Indiana Pacers. Many fans anticipated the home opener for the newly acquired Pascal Siakam, notching 10 points in the first quarters.

Siakam made his way to Indy from Toronto via a trade package including Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora and three first-round picks. The Pacers also received guard Kira Lewis Jr. from the New Orleans Pelicans in the deal.

“Siakam is a good player, he is going to be very consistent, he is going to bring something very valuable to every element of our game,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said following the game.

The two-time NBA All-Star scored his first basket in Gainbridge Fieldhouse with a driving finger roll layup, courtesy of Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard, within the first two minutes of the contest.

“The first two days the trade happened, I don’t think I slept at all,” Siakam said following the Nuggets contest. “It has been crazy.”

Due to injury management, star point guard Tyrese Haliburton was absent from the contest.

“When Tyrese is back, it will enhance his [Siakam] game even more,” Carlisle said.

From here, Siakam heated up the hardwood, compiling ten points, two rebounds and an assist on 4-5 field goals and 2-2 free throws in the first quarter, leading the Pacers in scoring.

The Hickory Hopeful led the Nuggets 29-28.

The Pacers continued their attack in the second period, reaching 62-54. The Pacers had difficulty containing Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who amassed 20 points while shooting 50% from the field (8-14.)

Related: Pacers acquire two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam ahead of trade deadline

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) shoots as Utah Jazz forward Kelly Olynyk (41) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The third quarter is where things ramped up for the Pacers. Less than four minutes into the second half, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was ejected after receiving two back-to-back technical fouls for criticizing the officiating team of Ben Taylor and Justin Van Duyne.

“I got run out of there [ejected] because I didn’t like what I was seeing out there at all, not one bit, and I will leave it at that,” Carlisle said in the press conference following the game.

Fans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse erupted in boos as Carlisle, who was visibly upset at this point, was tossed out of the game.

From here, Pacers assistant head coach Lloyd Pierce stationed the helm for the remainder of the game.

Siakam, who only attempted a single field goal in the third quarter, pointed out the state of the game at the beginning of the second half.

“I thought the third quarter, the game kind of got away a little bit and we had to crawl back,” Siakam said during the postgame conference.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Pacers put the clamps on the Nuggets, holding the championship squad to just 21 points in the period.

When asked about the defensive prowess the team showed, Siakam said the fourth quarter was a sample of what the Pacers can do defensively.

“That is something, for me, I want us to continue to improve, and I think the fourth quarter was an example of that, a team like Denver, that has the guys that they have, to be able to sit down and defend them,” Siakam said.

Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam gets tangled up with Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon during their matchup at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. on January 23, 2024. (Photo/Walt Thomas)
Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam gets tangled up with Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon during their matchup at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. on January 23, 2024. (Photo/Walt Thomas)

Despite trimming the fat to a single-possession game with less than 1:30 remaining, including the heroics of Pacers guard Ben Shepard, the Joker and Murray duo seems too much for the Pacers, losing 114-109.

Siakam ended the contest with a double double, putting up 16 points, ten rebounds and 4 assists. Pacers center Myles Turner scored a team-high 22 points.

“I think, yeah, I think a lot of good things, but, obviously, it is hard to look at it since we’ve lost three in a row, it is tough to see the good things, you know, with that, but I thought all of those games we played pretty well, like tonight, ” Siakam said after the Nuggets battle.

The newest member of the Pacers also said that the energy in Gainbridge Fieldhouse was next level.

“It has been awesome,” Siakam said following the loss to the Nuggets. He also provided a commitment to Pacers fans following the loss.

“I just want them [Pacers fans] to know that you are getting the guy that is going to come in and give everything. I want this team to be successful, and I am going to do everything in my power to make it happen,” Siakam said.

The Pacers are back at Gainbridge Jan. 25 against MVP candidate Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m.

Contact multimedia staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or via email at noralp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral.

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