Pacers vs Hornets

Pacers on Charlotte, Goga's Improvement

April 1, 2021 - Justin Holiday, Nate Bjorkgren and Goga Bitadze share their thoughts on the Hornets and Bitadze's improvement this season.

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Pacers on Charlotte, Goga's Improvement

April 1, 2021 - Justin Holiday, Nate Bjorkgren and Goga Bitadze share their thoughts on the Hornets and Bitadze's improvement this season.
Apr 1, 2021  |  02:41

Oshae Brissett on Signing with Pacers

April 2, 2021 - Oshae Brissett talks about signing a 10-day contract with the Pacers after a strong showing in the G League with the Mad Ants, his relationship with Nate Bjorkgren, and his mindset joining the team midseason.
Apr 2, 2021  |  03:02

Game Preview: Pacers vs Hornets

Friday, April 2, 2021 at 8:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

The Pacers (21-25) look to shake off their tough 92-87 loss to the Miami Heat when they take on the Charlotte Hornets (24-23) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night. As of Thursday morning, the Hornets hold the fourth spot in the tightly compacted Eastern Conference standings. They reside just three games ahead of ninth-place Indiana. Charlotte will be entering this contest on the second night of a back-to-back after they lost to the Nets in Brooklyn on Thursday.

While there may be plenty of games left for the Pacers to make up ground, they will hope to avoid a misstep against another potential playoff contender. Charlotte and its multifaceted attack of Terry Rozier (20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds per game), Gordon Hayward (19.8 points, 4.1 assists), and Devonte' Graham (13.9 points, 37.8 percent from 3-point range) won four of its last five games before Thursday's loss. Their recent surge has occurred despite the absence of rookie standout LaMelo Ball, who remains sidelined for a lengthy stretch due to a fractured right wrist.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Tracking the Latest Standings, Remaining Schedules, and More »

Meanwhile, Indiana appeared to turn things around before dropping its last two contests. In both games, it came down to the fourth quarter once again. The Blue & Gold have been outscored in the final frame in four of the last five games.

"We just can't step on teams," Doug McDermott said after the Pacers' loss to the Heat. "We had a good lead there...When we were playing our best basketball in the first half, we were definitely getting stops and that led to so many easy buckets in transition."

If Indiana wishes to avoid the play-in scenario, they’ll have to fight hard for the full 48 minutes over their final 26 games — especially against other teams that face the same predicament.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Caris LeVert, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Hornets: PG - Devonte' Graham, SG - Terry Rozier, SF - Gordon Hayward, PF - PJ Washington, C - Bismack Biyombo

Injury Report

Pacers: Jeremy Lamb - questionable (right toe sprain), Domantas Sabonis - questionable (left quad contusion), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)

Hornets: LaMelo Ball - out (right wrist fracture), Malik Monk - out (right ankle sprain)

Last Meeting

Jan. 29, 2021: After defeating the Hornets just 48 hours prior, the Blue & Gold had hopes of completing the rare sweep of a two-game set. However, the second night produced a different tale, as Indiana fell to Charlotte, 108-105.

A tightly contested battle came down to the final minute as Malcolm Brogdon's layup cut Indiana's deficit to three with just 41.5 seconds remaining. After the defense forced a Gordon Hayward turnover, the offense had 20.4 seconds to tie the game. After Charlotte used its foul to give, Brogdon had a clean look from deep with fewer than eight seconds left. However, his shot missed long and fell out of bounds, sealing the squad's fate.

Domantas Sabonis led the Blue & Gold with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. Brogdon added 21 points, four boards, and eight dishes, while Myles Turner tallied 20 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks.

Charlotte led 92-82 early in the fourth before Sabonis scored six points of a 9-0 run to make it a one-point game with eight minutes remaining.

"I feel like we played good in spurts with a lot of energy,” Sabonis said postgame. "We just weren't consistent throughout the game...We didn't get stops or make shots in the final minute."

Coach Nate Bjorkgren noticed the discrepancy in offensive boards during crunch time as well.

"We've got to finish our positions out a little better," he said. "Guys are fighting, they're flying, they're scrambling around. That was the difference tonight. We needed a couple bounces to go our way there over the final two and a half, three minutes."

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have won four straight home matchups against the Hornets, and six of the last eight overall. Charlotte’s last win at Indiana came on April 10, 2018.
  • Two Indiana players are averaging over 20 points over two games against the Hornets this season — Malcolm Brogdon (23.0) and Domantas Sabonis (22.0).
  • Doug McDermott's Pacers career-high of 28 points came against Charlotte in the clubs’ first meeting on Jan. 27.

Tickets

A limited number of tickets for all upcoming Pacers home games from March 17 - April 21 are now on sale. Tickets for the final nine regular season home games will go on sale on Monday, April 19. Single Game Tickets »   Health & Safety Guidelines »

Broadcast Information TV & 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), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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