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Pacers news: Nate McMillan won’t have Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis playing extended time together

Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis

The Indiana Pacers finished the 2017-18 regular season with a 48-34 overall record, which was good for a 5th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Though they fought hard, the Pacers were ultimately defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, 4-3. This season however, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan has a new strategy — one that involves Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.

Turner and Sabonis are both talented bigs, but McMillan recently noted that he will only put them on the floor together when the match-ups call for it.

“I gotta try to get Domas minutes,” McMillan said after Sunday’s practice. “Really, just splitting the minutes between him and Myles — that’s hard to get those guys minutes.

“There will be some teams that will give us the opportunity to play that match-up,” McMillan added, referring to the pairing of Turner and Sabonis. “That lineup is not really a strength of ours when teams are playing small basketball.

“There has been a lot of talk about Myles and Domas (playing together), but they play the same position,” McMillan noted. “They’re both 5’s. I think we can play that line-up some when teams have bigger personnel out there. We’re able to match up with those teams, but that hasn’t been a strong combination when those two have been out on the floor. You’ve got two centers, and one of them is trying to play the 4 spot. Depending on the line-up your opponent has, that can be challenging.”

Just for the record, Turner and Sabonis were on the floor together for less than two minutes through Indiana’s four preseason games.

Turner made 65 appearances with the Pacers during their 2017-18 regular season campaign, racking up averages of 12.7 points on 47.9 percent shooting from the field (35.7 percent from beyond the arc), 6.4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 28.2 minutes per outing. Sabonis, on the other hand, played 74 games, averaging 11.6 points on 51.4 percent shooting (35.2 percent from downtown), 7.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 24.5 minutes.

The Pacers will kick off the 2018-19 regular season on October 17 with a match-up against the Memphis Grizzlies. Tip-off inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse is set for 7:00 p.m. EST.