Countdown to Tipoff: Hornets at Pacers 120221
Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 6 p.m.
Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers (19-12) vs. Hornets (7-24)
By Conrad Brunner
SCOUTING THE PACERS: With two games remaining before the All-Star break, the Pacers hope to regain the services of sixth man George Hill, out the previous 11 with a chip fracture in his left ankle. Hill returned to full-speed practice Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and if there is no setback overnight, he could be back in uniform. The Pacers are 14-5 with Hill and 5-7 in games he has missed. They've bounced back from a five-game losing streak with consecutive victories, including a 35-point blowout of the Bobcats Sunday and have the opportunity to get on a bit of a roll heading into the break. David West will face his former team for the first time since joining the Pacers as a free agent and he's playing at a peak, averaging 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and .520 shooting in the last six games. The defense is coming back around, yielding just 161 points in the last two games, including a season-low 73 to Charlotte.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS: The first team to stop the Linsanity, the Hornets numbered the Knicks among the victims in a three-game win streak that ended with a 100-93 loss in Oklahoma City Monday night. They did it with defense, holding opponents to 84.7 points and .402 shooting while forcing 55 turnovers, and with a healthy does of Chris Kaman, who averaged 19 points and 10.3 rebounds in the streak. Another team ravaged by injuries -- they've only had Eric Gordon for two games -- the Hornets are missing a handful of key frontcourt players but have nonetheless come to life of late, playing their best stretch of the season. This will be the middle game of their first back-to-back-to-back of the season, and they've been on the road since last Tuesday, so fatigue could be a factor.
KEY MATCHUP: Roy Hibbert has been playing more like an All-Star of late, posting consecutive double-doubles while averaging 16.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and .559 shooting in the last three games. The Hornets' Chris Kaman has endured a tumultuous season since being traded from the Clippers with Eric Gordon in the deal for Chris Paul. Told to stay home last month because management was trying to trade him, he's now back in the starting lineup because of injuries to Emeka Okafor, Jason Smith and Carl Landry. Kaman has been productive in four starts, averaging 17.3 points and 9.8 rebounds, though he has shot just .365.
QUOTE MARKS: "New Orleans won three (in a row heading into Oklahoma City Monday) four and obviously Charlotte's going to be sitting at home steaming about this last game because they don't play another game until us on Wednesday. They're going go try to come back at us hard and we're going to make sure we regroup and attack like we did last time." - Roy Hibbert
INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Jeff Foster (lower back) day-to-day and George Hill (chip fracture, left ankle) are day-to-day. For the Hornets, Eric Gordon (knee), Carl Landry (knee), Emeka Okafor (knee) and Jason Smith (concussion) all were listed as out for Monday's game against Oklahoma City.
TICKETS: Buy now
BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game with Brooke Olzendam hosting the pre-game show at 6:30. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle in his 24th season of play-by-play, joined by longtime partner Bobby "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee hosting the pre-game and halftime shows.
INTERACT: You can get in-game commentary from this group of Pacers personalities throughout the game on Twitter.