Following Rough Loss, Hornets Moving Forward to Face Indiana

by Sam Perley
  • Charlotte Hornets (24-23) at Indiana Pacers (21-25)
  • Friday, April 2, 2021 at 8 PM EST (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
  • Bally Sports South and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 108-105 on Jan. 29, 2021 in Charlotte

Hornets Looking to Shake Off Bad Outing Against Brooklyn

A quarterly season-low 11 points in the opening frame of Thursday’s 111-89 loss to the Nets certainly got Charlotte off on the wrong foot in its attempt to win a fourth consecutive road game. The Hornets never came close to recovering from the early hole, finishing with a season-low scoring total and a 35% field-goal percentage, while struggling to generate offense without points off turnovers or on the fast break before the benches were emptied in the fourth. Overall, it was just a tough night on both ends for the Hornets and 24 hours later, they’ll have a chance to wipe the slate clean and try again to get back in the win column.

Pacers’ Offense Struggling After Strong Seasonal Start

Indiana kicked off the season with an 11-7 record, but starting with its loss in Charlotte on Jan. 29, have proceeded to go just 10-18 since then. Defense hasn’t necessarily been the issue for the Pacers – it’s been on the other end of the court. The team ranked eighth in the NBA in offensive rating over its first 18 games (112.3) and now ranks 20th across the subsequent stretch (110.0). Two-time All-Star center Domantas Sabonis (20.2 PPG, 11.3 RPG and 6.1 APG) and guard Malcolm Brogdon (21.2 PPG and 5.9 APG) are having standout campaigns, but Indiana is still working the newly-acquired Caris LeVert into the mix and has also lost TJ Warren for the season as well.

Charlotte Needs to Prioritize Finding Good 3-Point Shots

Hovering just outside the top-10 in defensive rating (110.8), Indiana is currently allowing the second-fewest opposing three-point attempts in the league this season (31.5), trailing only the Utah Jazz. Conversely though, Pacers’ opponents are knocking down what shots they do get from distance at the sixth-best efficiency (37.9%) and are also ranked second when it comes to paint scoring (50.9). The Hornets are top-10 in the NBA in three-point makes (14.0), attempts (36.5) and percentage (38.4%) heading into Thursday’s game and breaking through Indiana’s reliable perimeter defense should only make things even easier down low.

Preview Quote

“Not our finest performance. Starting with the first quarter, scoring eleven points. We had a major offensive issue tonight to start the game. We have to correct it and get other guys to step up. We’ve got another one tomorrow night in Indiana. We’re not going to sit on this one very long. We get to Indiana tonight, we move on and play against a very good Indiana team. That’s a physical team we have to be ready for. We can’t be licking our wounds here. We have to pick each other up, move forward and be ready for a very physical game tomorrow night.” – Hornets Head Coach James Borrego

Final Thoughts

There wasn’t a whole lot of positives to pull from the loss to Brooklyn, an outing that easily falls into the category of ‘just one of those nights’ in the NBA. Obviously, getting off to a much stronger start with more consistent, efficient half-court offense and then locking in a bit more on the defensive end will be focal points for a Hornets squad looking to split its back-to-back set out in Indianapolis.

Additional Notes

C Domantas Sabonis (left quad contusion) and G Jeremy Lamb (right toe sprain) are questionable to play for Indiana… G Malik Monk (right ankle sprain) left Thursday’s game in the fourth quarter and did not return… Charlotte is 0-4 on the road in Indiana since the start of the 2018-19 NBA season (average margin of defeat: 23.8 points)... The Pacers are just 8-13 at home this season (13-12 on the road)… The Hornets are 4-5 this season on the second leg of back-to-backs (20-18 with at least one day of rest).

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