Monday, March 20 at 7:00 PM ET at Spectrum Center
Game Recap: Hornets 115, Pacers 109
The Indiana Pacers were white hot at the start and then flamed out in the end in the Queen City.
The Pacers (32-40) squandered a 21-point first-half lead in a 115-109 loss to the Charlotte Hornets (23-50) at Spectrum Center on Monday. In the final 5:29 of play, the Hornets closed the game on a 20-4 run.
After establishing an 18-point lead through 12 minutes, and pushing it to as many as 21 points in the second quarter, the Hornets climbed back to go up late in the third quarter. In the decisive final frame, the teams were tied at 94 with 8:44 left before the Hornets came up clutch after the teams traded blows.
Indiana scored 40 points in the first quarter but totaled just 43 points in the second half. A major difference was turnovers, as the Pacers finished with 21 giveaways while the Hornets totaled 11.
Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. led all scorers with 28 points on 10-for-17 shooting , Terry Rozier added 23 and Central Indiana native Gordon Hayward chipped in 22. Charlotte’s Nick Richards achieved his 11th double-double of the season with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
Center Myles Turner and shooting guard Buddy Hield had 20 points a piece to lead the Pacers. Other Pacers scoring in double digits included rookie Bennedict Mathurin (18 points), Isaiah Jackson (12) and Jalen Smith (10). Jackson also had 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.
“Each ensuing quarter we played a little worse,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “You look at the turnover numbers and points off turnovers (and) that tells the whole story. They had 11 turnovers for eight points and we had 22 (turnovers) for 35 points.”
Looking at postseason scenarios, the Pacers are now 2.5 games back of 10th place in the Eastern Conference after the Chicago Bulls (34-37) beat the Philadelphia 76ers (48-23), 109-105, in overtime on Monday.
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Pacers All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton missed a fifth straight game and Chris Duarte sat out a fourth straight game on Monday due to ankle injuries. Former All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball didn’t play for the Hornets, and will be out the remainder of the season after having ankle surgery in early March.
Indiana dominated Charlotte on both ends of the floor in the first quarter, shooting 75 percent from the field while holding the Hornets to 31 percent shooting.
The Pacers went up 15-5 with 8:31 left in the first quarter by making all five of their field goal attempts and going 4-for-4 from the free throw line. In that span, Turner scored eight points during an 11-0 stretch.
Mathurin, returning after a four-game absence due to an ankle sprain, then went on a self-imposed 7-0 run midway through the first quarter to push the lead to 29-18.
In the final 5:31 of the opening frame, the Hornets were limited to just one made field goal while the Pacers finished on a 12-2 run in the final 3:53 to go up 40-22.
Turner made all three of his field goal attempts and went 9-for-9 from the free throw line to lead all scorers with 15 points after 12 minutes. As a team, the Pacers made 13 of 16 free throw attempts and had 10 assists in the first quarter.
The Pacers' lead swelled to 21 points before the Hornets finally answered with a 14-2 run, on seven points by point guard Rozier and five from Oubre, to narrow it to 56-47.
Indiana then found its footing again in the final four minutes, as a 7-2 Pacers run, on five points by Hield, pushed the Pacers ahead 63-49 before the visitors took an eight-point lead into the locker room.
The Hornets outscored the Pacers 36-26 in the second quarter by holding the Blue & Gold to 40.9 percent shooting.
In the third quarter, the Hornets didn’t turn the ball over once as they were able to get back into the game by outsourcing the Pacers 26-22.
Charlotte continued to chip away at the deficit until a Rozier 3-pointer sparked a 12-1 run that finished with a three by Oubre that tied the game at 75 with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
The teams then exchanged the lead five times in the final 6:31, but the Pacers maintained the lead at 88-85 going into the fourth quarter.
After tying three times to start the fourth quarter, Hield hit two 3-pointers and Jordan Nwora had one as the Pacers used a 11-2 run to go up 105-96 with 6:23 left in the game.
Charlotte responded with a 13-0 scoring spree, as Svi Mykhailiuk, Hayward and Rozier all drained 3-pointers and P.J. Washington scored four points, to go up 109-105 with 3:01 left in the game.
The Pacers went without a basket for four minutes before Aaron Nemsith stopped the bleeding with a layup to make it 109-107 with 68 seconds left. Hayward then hit a jumper through contact and converted the free throw to put the Hornets up five and Charlotte was able to hang on from there.
In the second half, the Pacers shot just 36 percent from the field while getting outscored 57-43.
“We’ll get in tomorrow, watch film in the gym and just flush it and move on to the next game,” Turner said. “These games matter and we’ve got to act like it.”
The Pacers will take on the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday in game two of the four-game road trip.
Inside the Numbers
Indiana’s bench outscored Charlotte’s reserves 45-18.
The Pacers outrebounded the Hornets 48-37, including winning the offensive glass 13-10.
From the free throw line, the Pacers shot 26-for-34 and the Hornets were 23-for-32.
Turner matched his season-high for free throw attempts with 11.
Hield has hit four or more 3-pointers in 41 games this season.
Nwora finished with seven points, ending his double-digit scoring streak at 10 games.
Postgame Media Availability: March 20, 2023
You Can Quote Me On That
“Coming into this game, I talked to the guys about really keying on two areas: rebounding and ball security. We did an admirable job (rebounding). We were pretty good there. But the ball security was very poor and we’ve got to work on it.” – Carlisle on the focuses going into the game and keys to the loss
“They were very opportunistic. We missed shots, had some bad shots, and had a couple of turnovers … things you can't do on the road. To score 40 In the first quarter and 69 the rest of the game is not good. Our defense and our carelessness with the ball were the two things that hurt us.” – Carlisle on the last five minutes of the game
“Unfortunately, the greatest amount of growth occurs during the greatest amount of challenge and upheaval and disappointment. That kind of rang true tonight.” – Carlisle on the young players gaining experience
“No NBA game is easy, and the remaining teams on this trip are playing for a lot – so we're gonna have to be better. I think the emphasis in all these games, for me, it's going to be simple. It's going to be rebounding and taking care of the ball. If we do those two things, it will help our defense.” – Carlisle on the remaining schedule
“We just let our foot off the gas. It was one of those things that you take for granted. We had a big lead and we just settled for a lot of things. We didn’t stick to our principles, our team principles of playing hard.” – Smith on the loss
“They went on a big run and we just couldn’t recover.” – Turner on the loss
"It’s a big building block in development. We’ve got a whole bunch of young guys trying to find our way around the league. I feel as though being put in different positions and thrown into the fire is the best thing for that experience.” – Smith on the young players continuing to grow
“To play that poorly early, defensively it was our transition defense and our high pick-and-roll defense, and get down like that, but you could tell even in the huddles, guys were good, talking to each other, ‘Stay with it, stay with it.’ I thought both our offense and our defense in the second half was really good.” – Hornets coach Steve Clifford on coming back
“We go out there every night, spend time in the gym, getting better each and every day – practices, shootarounds – what are we going to do, go out there and not compete with our full hearts and our souls for this city? ...We’re going to continue to play hard every night, fight. We’re playing with our imagination right now. This isn’t where we want to be. We’re in the mind frame of setting something up for next year and years to come, instead of just being in the moment right now. The record doesn’t define our talent on this team.” – Oubre on the Hornets win
Stat of the Night
The Hornets scored 35 points off 21 Pacers turnovers in the Blue & Gold loss.
- The Pacers are three 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.
- Mathurin, who scored 18 points against the Hornets, passed Vern Fleming (1,126) for fourth-most points by a Pacers rookie in franchise history. Mathurin is at 1,133 points with 10 games left on the schedule, trailing just Wayman Tisdale (1,192), Chuck Person (1,541) and Clark Kellogg (1,625) on the leaderboard.
- Indiana has not swept Charlotte in a series since the 2011-2012 season.
The Pacers continue their road trip north of the border in Toronto against Pascal Siakam on Wednesday, March 22 at 7:30 PM ET.
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 >>