NBA | A remarkable entry for Montrealer Bennedict Mathurin

(Indianapolis) The clock showed 50 seconds left and the Pacers trailed by eight points. Bennedict Mathurin made a three-point shot before scoring two more points, sending the crowd into a frenzy and bringing hope to the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The comeback was not completed, but the Quebecer managed to earn his place in the hearts of the fans.

Posted at 9:39 p.m.
Updated at 11:16 p.m.

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The Press

Before the match, Mathurin wanted two things: « a victory » and « to have fun ». He didn’t get the win, but he had the fun… In addition to recording 19 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in nearly 28 minutes of play in a 114-107 loss to the Washington Wizards.

In other words: those who still did not know his name will no longer forget him.

“It was good, it was good. I wanted a win, but it was a good first game for me in the NBA. I’m already excited for the second game, ”launched the Quebecer, looking a little crestfallen, after the game.

The evening started well: during the pre-game presentation, the first-round pick was one of the most cheered players by the crowd, which was surprisingly small for a first game of the regular season.

“It’s good to see that the people of Indiana are interested in me, he evoked on this subject. They are starting to know who I am and what I will bring to the team. Since I set foot here after the repechage, I have received several messages and I have their full support. »

When asked if he had taken the time to stop to realize the magnitude of what he was going through, Mathurin offered a response full of confidence, as he is used to.

“I try not to do that. I always thought I was going to go here and I’m not surprised to be there. I worked for and I want to make sure I stay as long as possible. »

 » No stress  »

As was the case in the preparatory matches, Mathurin watched the first minutes of the match from the sidelines. He was quick to take the field, however, entering with 6:46 to go in the first quarter as the Pacers trailed 20-11. And he quickly stood out.

From his first seconds of play in the NBA, he scored his first two points, waking up the crowd who had been a little discreet until then. The ice was broken.

Whether it’s an exhibition game or my first NBA game, I jump onto the court like I’m going to play in a park. There wasn’t really any stress.

Bennedict Mathurin

The more the minutes passed, the more the young man of 20 years seemed at ease on the ground of the superb Gainbridge Fieldhouse. He was generating attack. With just a minute left in the first quarter, he fired two three-pointers on assists from TJ McConnell to close the gap at 33-25.

At halftime, Mathurin had 12 points, 4 rebounds and an interception in just 10:56 of playing time. That’s a good way to introduce himself to fans.

Back on the court with 5:47 to play in the third quarter, the 20-year-old struggled a bit more, missing a couple of great field goal breakthroughs and two free throws. He came back strong late in the game, however, scoring five points in a row and giving the home crowd a boost.

“I’m ready whether there are two minutes or 30 seconds left. I am the same player with the same confidence. I like having the ball in these moments,” suggested the Quebecer, saying he was grateful for the confidence shown in him by his head coach, Rick Carlisle, and his teammates late in the game.

« It’s a good choice for us »

Rick Carlisle has been full of praise for Mathurin since the start of training camp. Asked about the performance of his young player, he was again complimentary.

« It’s his first game. But he has tools that really no one else on our team has. That’s exciting. I thought he played very well. He scored 19 points, you know. »

The head coach nevertheless specified that Mathurin “still has to learn a lot of things”. “Her decision-making was good at times, but other times she will have to be really better. »

It’s a good choice for us. chad [Buchanan, le directeur général] did a great job on that one and it’s a crowd favorite. When I sent him on the field, the crowd would go crazy.

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle on Bennedict Mathurin

“There are great things to come for him, no doubt about that. »

Ultimately, Bennedict Mathurin can say mission accomplished despite the defeat. As our Uber driver, James, said when we arrived in Indianapolis: “It’s going to be good! « .

Yes, Mathurin will be good. One could even say “Mathurin is good”.

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