Game Preview: Pacers at Hornets
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Spectrum Center
Despite losing Domantas Sabonis to a left knee contusion after the first quarter, the Pacers (10-7) put together their best offensive night of the season against the Toronto Raptors Monday night. The victory forced a 1-1 series split in their consecutive contests against the visitors.
The Blue & Gold hope to use that performance moving forward. The squad is traveling south to Spectrum Center, where they'll square off against the Charlotte Hornets (7-10). The first of two consecutive matchups between the clubs will take place Wednesday night.
The Hornets enter this game in a bit of a slump, losing five of their last six contests. Gordon Hayward's buzzer-beating layup against the Orlando Magic on Sunday night provided their lone win during the skid. The Brownsburg native and former Butler University star is averaging a team-high 24.1 points per game on 51.5 percent shooting this season.
Hayward shares most of the scoring duties with the experienced Terry Rozier. The former Louisville guard with a shoot-first mentality is recording an average of 18.8 points per game. The sixth-year man is shooting a solid 42.7 percent from beyond the arc. This season, Hayward and Rozier are firing a combined average of 31.5 field goal attempts per game, or 35.9 percent of Charlotte's total shots. Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Holiday will need to have active hands all night on defense to prevent the duo from inflicting significant damage.
Indiana's defense will also face the talented rookie, LaMelo Ball. The third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft became the youngest player in the NBA to record a triple-double on Jan. 9, tallying 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. However, he has been turnover-prone as of late. Ball is committing an average of four turnovers per game over his last three appearances. Look for Brogdon and T.J. McConnell to take advantage of the inexperienced point guard.
With Sabonis' availability in question, the Blue & Gold could lean on some reserves to assist Myles Turner in the paint. After playing well on Monday, Goga Bitadze could see some extra minutes. The second-year center added 10 points and two blocks to the Pacers' effort in 11:57 of playing time on Monday night.
After scoring a career-high 36 points against the Raptors on Monday, Brogdon hopes to have another stellar night on offense to push the Pacers to victory.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Justin Holiday, SF - Doug McDermott, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Hornets: PG - Devonte' Graham, SG - Terry Rozier, SF - Gordon Hayward, PF - PJ Washington, C - Bismack Biyombo
Pacers: Domantas Sabonis - questionable (left knee contusion), Jalen Lecque - out (G League assignment), Caris LeVert - out (medical condition), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)
Hornets: Nick Richards - probable (left ankle sprain)
Feb. 25, 2020: Despite missing Jeremy Lamb, Victor Oladipo, and Edmond Sumner, Indiana rolled to a 119-80 victory over the Hornets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The victory stands as the largest win in the history of the series.
It was a spectacular shooting night for Indiana, as six players finished in double figures. Four of those players finished with a shooting percentage of 71 percent or higher. Domantas Sabonis led the way, tallying 21 points and 15 rebounds. T.J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon added 19 and 15, respectively. Justin Holiday added a bench-high 16, while JaKarr Sampson and Doug McDermott added 10 each. Indiana never trailed after taking a 3-2 lead on Brogdon's 3-pointer with 10:51 to go in the first quarter.
The Pacers also put up stellar numbers defensively. The club limited Charlotte to just 80 points on 31-of-93 (33.3 percent) shooting and outrebounded their opponents 56-39 on the boards. Myles Turner set a new career high with eight blocks, including six in the first half alone.
"I just wanted to set the tone early and I was able to establish our defense for our team," Turner said postgame. "I think everybody followed suit. They did a hell of a job tonight."
- After losing the first matchup 122-120 in overtime, Indiana won its final three games against Charlotte last season.
- Indiana currently ranks 10th in offensive rating (112.0 points per 100 possessions) and 12th defensive rating (109.6 points per 100 possessions). The +2.4 net rating is the ninth-best in the NBA this year.
- Hornets center Vernon Carey and Pacers rookie guard Cassius Stanley both played at Duke University during the 2019-20 college basketball season.
- Hornets players Gordon Hayward and Cody Zeller are both Indiana natives and played their college basketball in Indiana.
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)