Bruce Brown delivered a remarkable performance by sinking six 3-pointers on his way to scoring 24 points, leading the Indiana Pacers to a convincing 143-120 victory over the Washington Wizards in the season opener held in Indianapolis.
Brown, who had recently signed a lucrative two-year, $45 million free-agent contract in the offseason, made an instant impact by connecting on 8 of 11 field goals, including an impressive 6 of 8 from beyond the three-point line.
In addition to Brown’s stellar performance, Tyrese Haliburton had a double-double with 20 points and 11 assists in his first game since signing a five-year maximum contract extension during the summer.
The Pacers received significant contributions from Bennedict Mathurin, who scored 18 points, and Buddy Hield, who added 14 points coming off the bench. As a team, Indiana displayed outstanding shooting, boasting a shooting percentage of 52.3% from the field (making 56 of 107 shots) and 46.5% from long range (hitting 20 of 43 three-point attempts).
Jalen Smith contributed 13 points and eight rebounds, while Myles Turner and Andrew Nembhard each recorded 11 points and eight assists. This victory allowed the Pacers to avenge their previous season’s opener loss to the Wizards with a final score of 114-107.
On the Wizards’ side, Kyle Kuzma led the way with 25 points in his first game since signing a significant four-year, $90 million contract in the offseason.
Jordan Poole added 18 points, Tyus Jones and Danilo Gallinari each scored 16 points, with Gallinari making his return to regular-season action after undergoing ACL surgery 13 months ago.
Indiana held a 73-68 lead at halftime, but they came out firing in the third quarter, scoring 16 of the first 20 points. Tyrese Haliburton played a crucial role in this surge, contributing with a variety of shots, including three-pointers, and pushing the Pacers to an 89-72 lead.
Although the Wizards reduced the deficit to 11 points, Indiana responded with authority. Isaiah Jackson’s emphatic dunk and Bruce Brown’s fifth 3-pointer extended the lead to 104-88 with 3:37 remaining in the third quarter.
The Pacers continued to dominate in the fourth quarter, with Buddy Hield sinking a step-back 3-pointer and Aaron Nesmith, Bruce Brown, and Bennedict Mathurin adding to the lead, which ballooned to 128-105. The outcome of the game was no longer in question, and the Pacers secured a convincing victory.
The game had an exciting start, with Jordan Poole’s driving layup giving the Wizards a 26-19 lead with 3:35 left in the first quarter. However, the Pacers quickly rallied, trimming their deficit to just five points by the end of the period. They continued their strong performance in the second quarter, outscoring the Wizards 39-29 to take a five-point lead into halftime.