Pacers vs Hornets

Game Preview: Pacers vs Hornets

Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 5:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

Matchup

After dispelling the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, the Pacers are headed back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for a three-game homestand. They begin the stretch with their second game against the Charlotte Hornets this season — their first at The Fieldhouse.

Heading into the matchup, the Hornets are riding a three-game win streak, including an 83-73 slugfest win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

Devonte' Graham, a second-year player from Kansas, has emerged as one of the Hornets' major scoring threats this season. The young guard is averaging 19.9 points per game along with a career-high 7.6 assists. On Dec. 11, he dropped a career-high 40 points against the Brooklyn Nets on 12-of-21 shooting, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range. Indiana also knows how lethal he can be, after dropping 35 against the Pacers back on November 5.

Backing his play up, three other Hornets starters are averaging double figures: Terry Rozier (17.3 points per game), Miles Bridges (12.9), and rookie forward PJ Washington (12.2). Washington, a stretch forward that could give the duo of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner rotational fits, made an NBA-record seven threes in his first game, but is now expected to be out through Christmas with a fractured finger.

The Blue & Gold will also have to keep Charlotte away from the free throw line this time in order to pull off the victory. During their last game against Charlotte, Indiana committed a season-high 34 personal fouls resulting in 42 free-throw attempts for the Hornets. On the flip side, Indiana had just seven attempts from the charity stripe.

Once again, it appears that the Pacers have the advantage on paper. But, should Graham and company heat up and Indiana gets into foul trouble, Pacers fans could be in for another game that comes down to the wire.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Jeremy Lamb, SF - T.J. Warren, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Hornets: PG - Devonte' Graham, SG - Terry Rozier, SF - Miles Bridges, PF - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, C - Bismack Biyombo

Injury Report

Pacers: JaKarr Sampson - questionable (sore lower back), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee surgery rehab)

Hornets: Nicolas Batum - doubtful (left hand discomfort), PJ Washington - out (fractured finger), Marvin Williams - out (right knee soreness)

Last Meeting

November 5, 2019: Indiana saw a 14-point fourth-quarter lead evaporate thanks to a 20-2 Charlotte run. After sitting on the bench all game, Bismack Biyombo emerged in the fourth quarter to score 13 points to force Indiana's first overtime of the season.

Things appeared headed into a second overtime until JaKarr Sampson picked up a questionable foul with 1.7 seconds showing on the clock. Devonte' Graham made the ensuing free throws to take home the 122-120 win.

Back in his home state of North Carolina, T.J Warren tallied a season-high 33 points. Malcolm Brogdon added 31 to the score sheet as well, but the performances just weren't enough. NBA fans turned their heads towards the massive 42-7 discrepancy in free throw attempts. Sampson's foul at the end only added to the oddity.

"I didn't think that was a foul," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said postgame. "Devonte' [Graham] was driving a lot tonight and initiating the contact, I didn't feel that was a foul at all. He got two calls tonight that our guys had their hands up. He is initiating the contact and he got the free throws on that. We did get a lot of fouls this game but I did not think that was a foul."

Noteworthy

  • Hornets forward/center Cody Zeller is a native of Washington, Ind. and played with Victor Oladipo on the Indiana Hoosiers.
  • Victor Oladipo and Hornets head coach James Borrego were in the Orlando Magic organization together from 2013-15.
  • Pacers head coach Nate McMillan coached Hornets guard/forward Nicolas Batum in Portland from 2008-12.

Tickets

The Pacers return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to host Cody Zeller and the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 5:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.





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