Hornets Start Road Trip, Close Back-to-Back Against Indiana
By Sam Perley
Following their 135-115 home victory over the Phoenix Suns last night, the Hornets hit the road again for a three-game trip, which tips off this evening against the Indiana Pacers at 6 p.m. ET.
The Hornets beat the Pacers at home, 127-109, back on Nov. 18, although reigning All-NBA guard Victor Oladipo was out for the visitors. Led by Jeremy Lamb’s 21 points, Charlotte got double-digit scoring performances from seven different players (including a points-assists double-double from Kemba Walker), while hitting 18 threes at a surreal 62.9 percent clip.
Although his scoring is down a bit compared to past seasons, Nic Batum’s shooting numbers (46.1 FG% and 40.1 3P%) have been some of the most efficient off his 11-year NBA career. The Frenchman has continued to do a little bit of everything for the Hornets lately, racking up averages of 9.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.4 APG and 1.6 SPG over his last eight appearances.
Charlotte will need to be mindful of Indiana’s starting three, Bojan Bogdanović, a fifth-year veteran representing Croatia internationally. Through Jan. 18, Bogdanović is averaging career-high marks in scoring (16.9 PPG), field-goal percentage (49.7 percent), rebounding (4.0) and assists (1.7), while sitting a lofty ninth in the NBA rankings for three-point efficiency (also a career-high 43.9 percent).
Bogdanović led the Pacers with 20 points on Nov. 18 and is known for his quick, catch-and-shoot tendencies (61.3 percent of his FGA come in under two seconds and 45.0 percent are with zero dribbles). He’s certainly thrived as a kick-out option for guards Oladipo, Darren Collison and Tyreke Evans and will be a major focal point for the Hornets’ defensive gameplan.
Game Note – Through Jan. 18, Indiana is fifth in the NBA in three-point efficiency (37.2 percent), although ranks third to last in three-pointers made per game (9.3)… The Pacers are also fourth in the league in opposing turnovers per game (15.7). Charlotte is tied with San Antonio for the fewest giveaways committed per outing (12.2).
Classic Fact – Eddie Jones set a franchise record with nine steals against the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 4, 1999. Indiana committed 32 total turnovers in this game as well, the most by any Charlotte opponent in a single game in franchise history.