Sunday, Jan. 8 at 5:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Game Recap: Pacers 116, Hornets 111
Prior to Sunday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said his team would need to rely on team-oriented, high-energy play to come out with a win.
In game 41 – the halfway point of the Pacers’ 2022-2023 season – that gritty play Carlisle wanted to see proved the difference.
Tied at 107 points, with 53 seconds left in the game, Pacers shooting guard Buddy Hield blocked a 3-point attempt by Hornets All-Star LaMelo Ball and was fouled on a loose ball. After Hield split the free throws to give the Blue & Gold the lead, the Pacers’ Aaron Nesmith stole the ball on the next possession.
The Pacers hit seven of eight free throw attempts in the final 31 seconds, and Pacers center Myles Turner had a crowd-roaring block at the rim on the Hornets’ Mason Plumlee, to clinch a 116-111 win at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
“There's no panic in this team,” Carlisle said after the game. “They're a group of believers."
Indiana (23-18) has now won six of its last seven games and eight of the last 10. At home, the Pacers are 15-7 and have won six straight.
Turner led five Pacers that scored in double figures with 29 points – including 12 in the fourth quarter – while Hield had 21, rookie Andrew Nembhard scored 19 and point guard Tyrese Haliburton had 16 points to go along with 13 assists. Turner also had nine rebounds and four blocks in the game.
P.J. Washington topped the Hornets (11-30) with 22 points, Terry Rozier added 19 and Plumlee scored 18 and pulled down 13 rebounds.
In the opening half, the two quarters couldn’t have gone much different for the Pacers.
After scoring just 15 points on 30.4 percent shooting in the first quarter, the Pacers made 47 percent of their shots in the second frame while holding the Hornets to 27 percent shooting to lead 47-45 at intermission.
All five of Indiana’s starters scored a bucket in the first 4:30 of play, and the Pacers led 15-14 with 6:10 left in the first quarter, but the Blue & Gold then went ice cold.
In the last 5:21 of the opening quarter, the Hornets scored 14 unanswered points to lead 27-15. In the final 6:09 of the first quarter, the Pacers shot 0-for-10.
Overall, the Pacers went 7-for-23 on shooting (0-for-10 3-point) while the Hornets made 11 of 21 attempts (1-for-6 3-point) in the first 12 minutes.
In the second quarter, the Pacers outscored the Hornets 32-18.
Jalen Smith stopped the bleeding for the Pacers with 11:18 left in the half, hitting a 3-pointer, to make it 29-18.
The Pacers finally got their offense rolling midway through the second quarter, going on a 14-3 run – on five points by Nembhard and four from Turner – to narrow the deficit to 37-35 with 5:23 left in the half.
After tying the game at 41, a pair of baskets by Haliburton and dunk by Hield – off a steal from Nembhard -- put the Pacers ahead by one possession at the break.
Ball, who leads the Hornets in scoring average, picked up his fourth foul 20 seconds into the third quarter, but then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give his team the lead back. Ball would foul out on the key foul on Hield in the waning seconds.
Two 3-pointers from Nembhard, a trey by Hield and offensive putback by Turner put the Pacers back ahead at 63-60 with 6:36 left in the third quarter, but the Hornets wouldn’t back down.
In the final 3:13 of the third quarter, the Hornets strung together a 9-0 run to take a 79-73 lead into the final frame
The Pacers tied the game at 85, after Hield scored seven points on two 3-pointers, Nembhard hit a three and Smith scored inside, with eight minutes left in the game.
While the Hornets led by as many as six, the Pacers climbed back to tie the game at 100 with 3:03 left in the game. From there, the Pacers were able to come up in the clutch.
Like Carlisle, Turner credited the home crowd with helping the team down the stretch.
“When we're at home, and we just hear the fans and how loud they get after we make play after play after play, it just all builds on each other,” Turner said. “You’ve got to give credit where credit's due for (the crowd). I mean, I think that just naturally amps us up and it gets us to continue to get the stops.”
Overall, the Hornets made 38 of 88 shots (11-for-33 3-point) while the Pacers made 38 of 87 attempts (13-for-38 3-points).
Charlotte outrebounded Indiana 49-41 but had 18 turnovers to the Pacers’ 16. The Pacers finished with 14 steals in the game and seven blocks.
Indiana will play at the New York Knicks on Wednesday. The Pacers will complete their season series with the Hornets on March 20 in Charlotte.
Inside the Numbers
Hield shot 4-for-12 from 3-point range in the game. He has now hit multiple 3-pointers in 18 straight games and has made four or more 14 times.
Nembhard finished with a game-high +/- of 25. Turner had a +/- of 20.
Despite not making a 3-pointer in the first quarter, the Pacers finished with 11 made threes.
Haliburton now had 22 double-doubles this season.
All 10 starters in the game scored in double figures.
Oshae Brissett had a season-high 10 rebounds for Indiana.
Nembhard had a career-high four steals in the game.
Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin, who leads all bench players in scoring in the NBA, finished with a career-low four points.
Indiana’s bench was outscored 22-16 – the fewest bench points by the Pacers in a game this season.
Postgame Media Availability: Jan. 8, 2023
You Can Quote Me On That
“We look forward to the moments when it’s crunch time and we come together and make big plays. It’s an exciting, special year at Gainbridge.” – Turner on the team coming up clutch
“I think it all just comes down to what we have in this locker room. I think Rick does a great job of being the head of the snake with this. ... We have a group of guys that are ready to go to war every night.” – Turner on the win
“Just trust, trust, trust, trust. I'm telling you, man, there's just no there's no ego in this locker room. Not at all.” – Turner on why the team is winning close games lately
“I'm trying to just find my balance of when to be aggressive and when to just understand when to make a play to kind of keep the ball moving. I think in the last couple of games, I’ve found a little better balance.” – Nembhard on being more aggressive
“This team is totally different. It's got a totally different spirit and totally different love for each other and a totally different commitment to each other.” – Carlisle on the better start ot this season compared to last year
“Tough games is where you grow. You know, this was a tough game. One of those bend but don't break games.” – Carlisle on the win
“There's some guys that step on the floor and bring a presence and energy and confidence to the game. I coached Jermaine O'Neal here for a stretch of four years, and Jermaine had that. It was something that kind of quietly was uplifting to his teammates. Myles is in his prime. I mean, he's playing the best he's ever played. He's a bonafide, certified leader in our locker room. He does it the right way. He does it with actions and not words, and yet when he talks people listen. I'm just real happy for him, he’s a great guy. And down the stretch, I mean, he was tremendous, right? You can't say it enough.” – Carlisle on Turner
Stat of the Night
Turner shot 4-for-6 in the fourth quarter and made three of four free throw attempts for 12 of his 29 total points. He also had four blocks and nine rebounds.
- Sunday’s game marked the midway point for the Pacers’ season. Last year, the team had a record of 15-26 at this point before finishing 25-57.
- Indiana owns an all-time record of 72-51 over the Hornets and are 47-16 when playing them in Indianapolis.
- Pacers reserve point guard T.J. McConnell injured his shoulder in the third quarter and didn’t return to the game.
- Indianapolis native and Butler University men’s basketball legend Gordon Hayward did not play against the Pacers due to an injury.
The Pacers travel to New York to take on Julius Randle and the Knicks on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 PM ET.
The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Jan. 13 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>