NBA: Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers face off at NSCI Dome

Updated: Oct 04, 2019, 08:35 IST | Ronald Chettiar | Mumbai

National Basketball Association teams Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers will be as competitive as ever at the NSCI Dome today, but there'll also be an element of goodwill since they've bonded well on the flight to India

NBA side The Indiana Pacers during a training session at NSCI Dome in Worli yesterday. Pic/ Atul Kamble
NBA side The Indiana Pacers during a training session at NSCI Dome in Worli yesterday. Pic/ Atul Kamble

National Basketball Association (NBA) teams Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers will square off in the first of the two back-to-back pre-season games at the NSCI Dome, Worli today, but more than the result, coaches and players from both teams are focusing on getting the chemistry right.

Both teams have travelled around 18 to 19 hours for these matches. The coaches felt that the travelling has given the teams an opportunity to gel and bond as a unit ahead of the upcoming season.

"It's been an unbelievable trip and we are thrilled to be here. It has helped us with bonding as a team," said Sacramento Kings coach, Luke Walton during a media interaction at Worli yesterday. The teams are put up at the St Regis in Parel.

Camaraderie matters

"When you are at home, it's just basketball. But during trips like this, we have every meal together. We are together in the waiting room [of the airport]. We do everything as a group. When you are flying 18 to 19 hours as a group, it helps you bond. It's the camaraderie that we are trying to build here," Walton explained.

Pacers's coach Nate McMillan echoed similar sentiments. "We have seven new guys in our roster and we are looking for that chemistry. That bond can only be built with an opportunity to play. Tomorrow night's game will be their first together. Trips like these help fasten the process," said McMillan.

Indiana Pacers power forward, Myles Turner, 23, who joined the Indianapolis-based team in 2015, said he looking forward to compete with his new mates. "Back in Indiana, we have respective families to be with, but here we are spending time with each other and the bond will only get better by spending more time," said Turner.

Team spirit

Kings's Buddy Hield, 26, said all the travelling as helped in enhancing team spirit. "We took the time to learn about each other; about our kids and families. I'm the one doing all the talking in the team, so they got to hear lot of my stories. It was fun. It was a good bonding trip. We didn't not have Internet on the plane so, it was good for the team-spirit," said the star shooting guard.

Though both teams are still finding their feet before the season kicks off on October 23, coaches promised there will no dearth of intensity during the Mumbai matches.

"We will have our guys giving their all. We will be competitive, but we'll try and put up different line-ups to manage player fatigue. Either way, it will be high-level basketball as both teams know how important these matches are to create the momentum going forward," said Walton.

McMillan felt it will be all about balancing the fans' expectations with getting the best out of the team.

"You always play a game to win. For both teams, it will be about checking where they stand going into the season. This is an opportunity for us to get prepared for the NBA," said the former Seattle SuperSonics point guard.

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Sacramento Kings v Indiana Pacers: Sony Ten 1, Ten 1 HD, Sony Ten 3 & Ten 3 HD, 6:30pm onwards

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