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HORNETS VS. KNICKS

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TOMORROW AT 7:00 PM

Hornets Look to Sweep Road Trip in Indiana

by Sam Perley

The Hornets have a chance to stretch their winning streak to a season-high four games and go undefeated on their current road trip when they take on the Indiana Pacers beginning tonight at 5 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Charlotte’s defense has come alive over its last three appearances, allowing a meager 100.0 points per 100 possessions (113.9 in previous 25 outings). The Hornets beat the Bulls, 83-73, on Friday night, holding them to just 30.0% shooting and decisively winning the rebounding battle, 60-45. Safe to say, Head Coach James Borrego is pleased with his team’s recent defensive play.

“Give our guys a ton of credit. They're really buying in,” he said after the victory over Chicago. “After every game, you keep getting better and you come back and look for things you can improve and areas to get better at. I'm excited for our guys. They’re playing well and trying to keep this thing going. They want this and want to keep getting better.”

This will be these teams’ second matchup of the season with Charlotte winning at home, 122-120, in overtime on Nov. 5. Devonte’ Graham scored a then career-high 35 points, Terry Rozier added another 22 points and the Pacers (who were without big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis) got 30-point games from both TJ Warren (33) and Malcolm Brogdon (31).

Indiana enters tonight’s game ranked 17th in offensive rating (108.3), seventh in defensive rating (104.1) and second in fast-break points allowed (11.2 PPG). The 17-9 Pacers have been sharp even without All-Star Victor Oladipo, who is nearing the end of a long recovery for a ruptured right quad tendon. Brogdon is averaging 19.5 PPG and is sixth in the NBA in assists (7.7), with Warren (18.2 PPG) and Sabonis (18.0 PPG) right behind him in scoring.

The Pacers are an outstanding defensive team, especially at home (their 101.9 rating is fifth best in NBA) and also average the sixth-fewest turnovers in the NBA (13.3). Charlotte will need to get creative offensively, knock down shots and take full advantage of any and all takeaways in order to come back home with another victory.

Game Notes: F JaKarr Sampson has missed 13 straight games for the Pacers (back)… The Hornets are 1-5 in Indiana since the start of the 2016-17 season… Indiana is 10-3 at home this season and Charlotte has won three of its last four on the road.

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