Pacers vs Hornets

Bjorkgren on Health Entering Play-In, Matchup with Charlotte

May 17, 2021 - Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren gives an update on injuries to Malcolm Brogdon, Edmond Sumner, and Aaron Holiday and discusses Tuesday's do-or-die Play-In game with Charlotte.

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Bjorkgren on Health Entering Play-In, Matchup with Charlotte

May 17, 2021 - Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren gives an update on injuries to Malcolm Brogdon, Edmond Sumner, and Aaron Holiday and discusses Tuesday's do-or-die Play-In game with Charlotte.
May 17, 2021  |  03:31

Game Preview: Pacers vs Hornets (Play-In Tournament)

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 6:30 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

The Pacers' path to the postseason begins in earnest on Tuesday night, when Indiana (34-38) hosts Charlotte (33-39) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the NBA's new Play-In Tournament. Tuesday's contest is an elimination game, with the loser seeing their season come to an end. The winner will advance to play either Boston or Washington on Thursday for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The biggest question for the Pacers entering Tuesday is their health. Injuries have ravaged Indiana's roster all season long, especially in recent weeks. The Pacers were without six players in Sunday's regular season finale, but as many as three could return for Tuesday's Play-In game.

The biggest potential addition would be starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon, who led the Blue & Gold in scoring at 21.2 points per game and ranked third in both rebounding (5.3) and assists (5.9), missed the last 10 games of the regular season with a hamstring injury. He has been doing more on-court work over the past week, however, and tested his hamstring prior to Sunday's game. Brogdon's return would give Indiana another scorer alongside All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis (20.3 points per contest).

Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren said Sunday that guards Aaron Holiday (sprained toe) and Edmond Sumner (bruised knee) could also potentially return on Tuesday. Each sat out the final four contests of the regular season. Starting center Myles Turner (toe) and reserve guard Jeremy Lamb (knee) are not expected to be ready to return for the Play-In Tournament.

The Pacers suffered another significant blow on Tuesday, when Caris LeVert (20.7 points and 4.9 assists per game) was ruled out against Charlotte due to the NBA's health and safety protocols.

The Hornets won two of three games against Indiana in the regular season, splitting a pair of games in Charlotte in January and coming away with a 114-97 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 2. Charlotte scuffled somewhat at the end of the season, losing its last five regular season games and nine of its last 12.

Still, the Hornets have several capable threats that could carry them to a victory with a big night. Terry Rozier led the Hornets in scoring at 20.4 points per game, shooting just under 39 percent from 3-point range on over eight attempts per game. LaMelo Ball, the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, is a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year honors after an excellent debut campaign that saw him average 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.6 steals.

Charlotte is likely to be without former Butler star Gordon Hayward on Tuesday. Hayward averaged 19.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in his first season in Charlotte, but has not played since April 2 due to a sprained foot.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Justin Holiday, SF - Doug McDermott, PF - Oshae Brissett, C - Domantas Sabonis
Hornets: PG - LaMelo Ball, SG - Terry Rozier, SF - Jalen McDaniels, PF - Miles Bridges, C - PJ Washington

Injury Report

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore right hamstring), Aaron Holiday - questionable (right great toe sprain), Domantas Sabonis - questionable (bruised left quad), Edmond Sumner - questionable (left knee contusion), Jeremy Lamb - out (sore left knee), Caris LeVert - out (health and safety protocols), Myles Turner - out (partial plantar plate tear, right foot great toe), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)

Hornets: Gordon Hayward - out (sprained right foot), Cody Martin - out (sprained left ankle)

Last Meeting

April 2, 2021: The Hornets outscored Indiana 17-6 over the final 5:36 to pull away for a 114-97 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Caris LeVert led the Blue & Gold with 16 points and five assists in the loss. Doug McDermott added 13 points off the bench, while fellow reserve T.J. McConnell contributed 12 points and seven assists.

The Pacers were without Malcolm Brogdon, a late scratch due to a sore hip, then Domantas Sabonis to a sprained ankle and saw Myles Turner foul out in the second half.

Miles Bridges had a team-high 23 points and 10 rebounds for Charlotte, going 8-for-12 from the field and 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Cody Zeller added 17 points, Terry Rozier scored 15, and Gordon Hayward tallied 13 points, eight boards, and six assists.

Noteworthy

  • Charlotte is the only Eastern Conference team the Pacers have never faced in the postseason.
  • For the second straight season, Pacers guard/forward Justin Holiday was the only player on the roster to appear in every regular season game. Holiday averaged 10.5 points and 3.6 rebounds during his eighth NBA season.
  • Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb spent four seasons in Charlotte from 2015-19 before signing with Indiana.

Tickets

Tickets for Tuesday's Play-In game against Charlotte will go on sale on Monday, May 17 at 4:00 PM ET. Single Game Tickets »   Health & Safety Guidelines »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: TNT - Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Greg Anthony (analyst)
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 Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

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