After a tough loss to the Chicago Bulls on the road, the Pacers (14-20) will try to bounce back when they host the Charlotte Hornets (18-17) at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Wednesday night. The Blue & Gold have lost four straight games to the Hornets, including the first two games this season.
The Hornets are currently playing a 10-game streak, eight of which are road competitions. After losing three of five on their road trip to the Western Conference, the crew returned to dismantle the shorthanded Houston Rockets on Monday 123-99. Terry Rozier (16.9 points per game) scored a high of 27 in the win, including seven trebles. The seventh-year goaltender has had 15 threes in his last three games while shooting 46.8% from beyond the arc (15 of 32).
While Rozier, LaMelo Ball (19.7 points, eight assists per game) and Gordon Hayward (17.1 points) help Charlotte soar in attack, the team have struggled on the defensive end of the field. Despite the Hornets’ strong defensive performance in their last outing, they still have the worst defensive rating in the league in 35 games (113.7 points per 100 possessions). In addition, they allow an average of 48 points in the paint, good news for the pilots and the great men of the Pacers. The Blue & Gold have averaged 120 points over two games against Charlotte this season.
The Pacers could see a new face for the playmaker when they take on Charlotte as well. With Indiana slim in the position, the Blue & Gold named Fort Wayne guard Keifer Sykes Mad Ants. Sykes, who has played professional basketball in seven different countries, turned heads this summer at the basketball tournament. He grabbed the headlines after pulling off a three-time championship winner for his team, the Boeheim Army. Sykes started 13 games for the Mad Ants and averaged 16.3 points and 8.0 assists per game.
Pacers: PG – Caris LeVert, SG – Chris Duarte, SF – Justin Holiday, PF – Domantas Sabonis, C – Myles Turner
Hornets: PG – LaMelo Ball, SG – Terry Rozier, SF – Gordon Hayward, PF – Jalen McDaniels, C – Mason Plumlee
Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon – questionable (right Achilles pain), Jeremy Lamb – questionable (right wrist pain), TJ McConnell – out (right wrist sore), TJ Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
Hornets: Miles Bridges – out (health and safety protocols), Scottie Lewis – out (health and safety protocols), PJ Washington – out (health and safety protocols)
November 19, 2021: The Hornets opened a game 37-37 to lead up to 25 points in the competition. However, the Pacers bench made their way into the fight. With less than a minute to go, Indiana came down to less than three and had a chance to tie the game with the final shot. But the Hornets’ defense prevented the Blue & Gold from firing an attempt. The Hornets won, 121-118, at the Spectrum Center.
In total, the bench scored 78 points in the failed comeback effort. Jeremy Lamb had 23 of 6 of 9 shots and went 7 of 7 to the charity strip. Torrey Craig added 14 and seven rebounds in front of several family members. Brad Wanamaker recorded 12.
Trailing 121-115, Lamb had his fourth triple to reduce the deficit to three. The Blue & Gold then defended the Hornets’ incoming play well and forced a wrong pass. They had 16.2 seconds to fire the last shot.
Unfortunately, Charlotte had an advantage. Knowing Indiana needed a triple, they stacked the perimeter with defenders. The Pacers valiantly tried to give the warm-handed lamb an open stare, but narrowly failed.
LaMelo Ball was the culprit in the game-breaking Charlotte run. Ball hit in five of an 8-0 streak that propelled the Hornets into the lead with 5:16 left in the second quarter. From there he took over, forcing shifts with tough passes and crafting quality buckets himself. He finished with a high of 32 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
- Indiana holds an all-time home record of 30-13 against the Hornets in the regular season.
- Domantas Sabonis scored 33 points, a season-high, on opening night against the Hornets.
- Pacers goaltender Jeremy Lamb played for the Hornets four seasons from 2015 to 2019.
The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to welcome Gordon Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, December 29 at 7 p.m. ET. Find tickets Â» Star Wars Night â
Broadcast information TV and radio lists Â»
TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (reporter / host)
Radio: 93.5 / 107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (reporter / host)