Jordan Nwora
(Matt Kryger)

Game Preview: Pacers at Hornets

Monday, March 20 at 7:00 PM ET at Spectrum Center

Game Preview

The Indiana Pacers are on the road again, but for the last long journey of the 2022-2023 season.

Monday, the Pacers (32-39) will kick off a final four-game road trip when they take on the Charlotte Hornets (22-50) at Spectrum Center. With a win, Indiana can sweep Charlotte for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.

Indiana is 6-4 over its last 10 games, sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, while Charlotte comes into the game losing four in a row. After the string of road games, the Pacers will play five of their last seven games at home.

The Pacers are a game and a half back of the Chicago Bulls (33-37) for the 10th and final Play-In Tournament berth, and are three games back from the ninth-place Toronto Raptors (35-36).

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In game three of the season series, the Hornets will be without star guard LaMelo Ball, who had surgery on his right ankle at the beginning of the month, and center Mason Plumlee, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in February.

Ball scored 26 points in the first contest and 13 points in the second against the Pacers and Plumlee had double-doubles in each of the first two games.

For Indiana, All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton is expected to miss a third straight game due to a right ankle sprain. Pacers standout rookie Bennedict Mathurin, who is also suffering from a sprained ankle, has missed four straight games and his status for Monday is uncertain.

Taking over at the point, Pacers rookie Andrew Nembhard has played well in Haliburton’s absence, recording 22 and 24 points each in the last two games. Jordan Nwora, who has started with Haliburton out the last two games and was acquired via a trade with Milwaukee in February, has scored in double figures now in 10 straight games.

Former Brownsburg High School and Butler University star Gordon Hayward is expected to play against the Pacers after missing the two previous matchups due to injuries. Hayward, who has only played in 46 games this season, has averaged 14.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game for the Hornets.

Both the Pacers and Hornets are coming off losses to the No. 2 team in the East, the Philadelphia 76ers (48-22).

On Saturday, the 76ers shot 61.4 percent from the field en route to a 141-121 win over the Blue & Gold. Aaron Nesmith had a career-high 25 points in the loss and MVP candidate and NBA leading scorer Joel Embiid had 31 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Philadelphia.

Charlotte lost to the 76ers 121-82 on Friday, scoring just 28 total points in the second half. Hornets guard Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 14 points and P.J. Washington had 12 while Embiid collected 38 points and 13 rebounds.

Rozier has scored at least 17 points in each game against the Pacers this season while dishing out a minimum of six assists.

After Charlotte, the Pacers will head north on Wednesday to take on the Toronto Raptors before traveling to the Boston Celtics on Friday and going to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

Projected Starters

Pacers:  G - Andrew Nembhard, G - Buddy Hield, F - Aaron Nesmith, F - Jordan Nwora, C - Myles Turner

Charlotte Hornets: G - Terry Rozier, G - Kelly Oubre Jr., F - Gordon Hayward, F - P.J. Washington, C - Nick Richards

Injury Report

Pacers:  Chris Duarte - questionable (sore left ankle), Isaiah Jackson - questionable (sore right knee), Bennedict Mathurin - questionable (right ankle sprain), Kendall Brown - out (right tibia stress fracture), Tyrese Haliburton - out (right ankle sprain)

Hornets: LaMelo Ball - out (right ankle surgery), James Bouknight - out (G League assignment), Cody Martin - out (sore left knee), Mark Williams - out (right thumb sprain)

Last Meeting

Jan. 8, 2023: The Pacers hit seven of eight free throw attempts in the final 31 seconds to come out with a 116-111 win over the Hornets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Charlotte jumped to a 27-15 lead by the end of the first quarter before Indiana roared back to go up 47-45 at intermission.

After the Hornets reclaimed the lead by outscoring the Pacers 34-26 in the third quarter, the Pacers dropped 43 points in the final frame to pull off the win. The teams were tied at 107 with 53 seconds left before the Pacers got it done at the charity stripe.

Turner led the Pacers with 29 points and Washington topped the Hornets, who had five scorers in double figures,  with 22.

Hield finished with 21 points and Nembhard had 19, with both nailing four 3-pointers each. Haliburton achieved a double-double with 16 points and 13 assists.

Both teams shot 43 percent from the field but the Pacers made 13 3-pointers to the Hornets’ 11 treys. The Hornets outrebounded the Pacers 49-43.

  • The Pacers are 12 made 3-pointers away from setting a new franchise record for made threes in a season. The previous record of 997 was set during the 2021-2022 season.
  • Indiana owns the all-time lead against Charlotte 72-51. Charlotte swept the regular season series in 2021-2022 and the last time the Pacers won the series was during the 2019-2020 season, 3-1.
  • The Pacers haven’t swept Charlotte since the team changed its mascot from the Bobcats to the Hornets in 2013.
  • This game will actually be the fifth meeting between the two teams, but just the third in the regular season as the Pacers and Hornets played each other both in the Summer League and preseason. Indiana won both those exhibitions.
  • Pacers assistant coach Ronald Nored was an assistant for the Hornets from 2018-2021.
Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)

Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio host)


After a four-game road trip, the Pacers will return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, March 27 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>