Pacers' Turner celebrates birthday in style
(The Sports Xchange) - With his parents in town to help celebrate his 20th birthday, Indiana Pacers rookie Myles Turner wanted to mark the significance of the day with specific numbers Thursday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.
"I was trying for 20 points and 20 rebounds, but the most important thing was that I wanted to play my hardest," said the former University of Texas standout, who achieved most of his objectives for this night.
Turner celebrated with 24 points and 16 rebounds, and the Pacers defeated the injury-plagued Pelicans 92-84 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers (38-33) earned their 10th consecutive victory over the Pelicans (26-45).
New Orleans, which had eight of its 16 players available, closed within 88-84 on Toney Douglas' 3-pointer with 1:03 left.
"We knew they were short-handed, but we also knew we would have to match their intensity," said Turner, noting that several Pelicans were looking to showcase their skills with minutes they don't normally receive.
C.J. Miles made two free throws with 46.6 seconds remaining, increasing the Indiana lead to 90-84. Monta Ellis made two more free throws with 40.1 seconds to play to push the Pacers ahead 92-84.
"Turner is becoming a big-time threat," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "He is improving every night and is especially getting better defensively. We are asking him to guard a lot of different people."
Miles added 19 for Indiana, which lost leading scorer Paul George to a lower right leg injury in the third quarter. George did not return, finishing with 15 points. Continued...