Running thoughts: Pacers 101, Kings 83

Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 101-81 win over the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

  • Things are very different around here since George Hill was on the team in 2015. Just three players still around — Myles Turner, Joe Young, and Glenn Robinson III — and new uniforms, a new court, and new public address announcer.
  • Hill was the final Kings player introduced by public address announcer Jerry Baker.
  • (Q&A with Hill — on Sacramento, Hayward’s injury, and Broad Ripple closing)
  • Being Halloween, it was a weak crowd. But the Pacers’ game operations staff was ready — with a special “Thriller” introduction video and more.
  • The game featured the oldest and youngest active players – Sacramento’s Vince Carter (40) and Indiana rookie Ike Anigbogu.
  • Myles Turner, out for the sixth straight game due to a concussion, joined his teammates on the bench for the first time.
  • Fast start for the Blue & Gold: 17-4, including the game’s first nine points. Domantas Sabonis is locked in early, with six points and nine rebounds — yes, nine rebounds — in the first seven minutes. Sacramento, as a team, had eight.
  • Oladipo’s foot speed, his first two steps have to be among the league’s best.
  • The crafty and relentless Sabonis locked up his fourth double-double of the season by the 6:03 mark of the second quarter.
  • Overheard on media row, with the Pacers leading by 25 in the middle of the third period: “This feels like a preseason game.” … Yeah, the Kings are bad.
  • If they take care of business early, rotational guys will be able to sit much of the fourth quarter. This game is on the front end of a back-to-back, Wednesday in Cleveland.
  • We talked about the Paul George reunion game … well, like George Hill, this is a reunion game for Pacers starting point guard Darren Collison, who spent the last three seasons in Sacramento, his fifth NBA city. He had three points and two assists in 25 minutes.
  • Another game, another career high for Sabonis. He pulled down 16 rebounds, and also contributed 12 points (5-for-6) and five assists in 25 minutes. Not bad for being under the weather.
  • Sabonis is 28-of-29 from the field in the Pacers’ four wins.
  • McMillan on Sabonis: “He’s a very intelligent basketball player. Smart. He plays within himself. Normally he’s in the right place at both ends of the floor. We really want to run our offense through him. … His basketball IQ is very high, he understands the game and makes teammates better.”
  • Anigbogu and Damien Wilkins checked in with 4:55 to play. A few minutes in, Anigbogu record his first career points at the free throw line. He made both.
  • “It felt really good coming onto this level and being able to prove yourself. This moment I’ll never forget.”
  • For the first time in seven games, a player not named Victor Oladipo led the Pacers in scoring. Tonight it was Bojan Bodganovic with 17 on 6-of-13 shooting, including three 3s.
  • “It’s out defense, our intensity. We’re playing the right way as we have a tough challenge tomorrow night [in Cleveland].”
  • Pacers are above .500 (4-3) and have strung together wins for the first time this season.
  • Oladipo: “It’s just good to go out there and play every night. It’s a blessing to come out there and play the game I love. I just thank God every day for the opportunity to play for this state and to play for my teammates.”
  • They led for all 48 minutes of a game this season. It was the Kings’ (1-6) fifth consecutive loss.
  • George Hill finished with eight points and six rebounds. Zach Randolph had 12 and five. I know the money is great, but these two may be as miserable as you can be earning eight figures per year for a living.
  • Up next: the Pacers face the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, who are 3-4 and losers in three straight games.

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