Indiana Pacers rookie guard Bennedict Mathurin was looking forward to facing a certain player at the NBA level, and on Wednesday night it finally happened.
“One guy I’m really excited to play against is Luguentz Dort,” Mathurin said last summer. Dort and Mathurin are both Canadians and grew up in the same neighborhood, so they have a long-standing relationship.
Currently, Dort plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder. On Wednesday, the Thunder hosted the Pacers for the first meeting between the two teams this season. It was the first of what is likely to be many professional-level bouts between the two Canadians.
Dort’s Thunder walked away with a 126-106 victory. Mathurin finished with 13 points and five rebounds while Dort had 22 points and 11 rebounds. The Thunder forward also finished with a block, appropriately placed on a jump shot by Mathurin in the third quarter.
“He will definitely stay in the league for a long time,” said Dort about Mathurin after the game. per Rylan Stiles of Locked on Thunder. Mathurin later named a bucket there. The Pacers rookie is averaging 17.1 points per game.
Dort and Mathurin go way back, and the Oklahoma City forward went to the NBA draft last June to support Mathurin. He then posted a picture to Instagram congratulating Mathurin after he was picked by the Pacers. you are close
Mathurine wrote a post The Players’ Stand just before training camp and credited Dort by name as one of the top basketball talents from Montreal, where Mathurin was born.
“It was good, it was an honor for me,” Mathurin said of the Dort fight. per the pacemaker. “It was a great thing for Montreal but also for the Haitian community to have two Haitian Canadians play each other in the NBA. It was a great thing,” he added. Both Dort and Mathurin are of Haitian descent. Mathurin’s family flew to Indiana earlier this season to cook him and the Pacers a Haitian meal.
Mathurin and Dort swapped jerseys after the duel on the Paycom Center court. It was a game and a moment that both players had long been looking forward to. There will be many, many more fights between the two in the years to come.
- Tyrese Haliburton says he hopes to return for the Indiana Pacers “in early February” from injury. CLICK HERE.
- Report: Goga Bitadze is the Indiana Pacers’ ‘most likely’ big man to be traded this season. CLICK HERE.
- Myles Turner has improved significantly this season. Just ask his former teammates and coaches. CLICK HERE.
- Five reasons the Indiana Pacers lost five games in a row. CLICK HERE.
- Follow AllPacers on Facebook: All pacemakers SI
- Follow AllPacers on Twitter: @ SIPacer