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Evan Turner garners praise from coach, teammates in Pacers debut

Evan Turner scored 13 points off the bench in his debut with the Indiana Pacers.
Evan Turner scored 13 points off the bench in his debut with the Indiana Pacers.

In his debut in an Indiana Pacers uniform, Evan Turner already looked like the prized acquisition the team hoped he would be with 13 points off the bench in a 118-98 win over the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Despite his reputation as a dynamic scoring threat, it wasn’t stunning feats of athleticism or creative field goal attempts that garnered praise from Pacers head coach Frank Vogel and his teammates.

"He's just a good basketball player," said Coach Vogel. "He has good saavy, good IQ. He understands his teammates. He picks things up quickly and like I said, he looked comfortable."

Turner went 6-of-12 from the field and grabbed six rebounds after seeing 26 minutes of action. He was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers with Lavoy Allen prior to last Thursday’s trade deadline for Danny Granger and a second-round pick.

"He's a player, man," said Pacers forward David West. "The guy's got a good feel.”

The Pacers held a scant three-point lead heading into halftime, but a 34-16 offensive outburst in the third quarter put them comfortably ahead by double digits prior to the start of the fourth quarter. Seven Pacers scored in double figures with Paul George leading the way with 20 points.

Indiana certainly knows that a 20-point victory against an injury-riddled Lakers team that is in the midst of a transitional season isn’t cause for much celebration. The Pacers know there is still much work to do in order to integrate Turner and wean him off being the primary offensive feature he was accustomed to as part of the 76ers.

"He's still got to adjust," said West. "He's got to figure out how to play with us. He's going to have to figure out on the fly here.”

Still, his teammates feel that the learning curve won’t be daunting to Turner.

“He's smart, heady, composed,” added West.

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