The Pacers will officially tip off the 2021-22 NBA season on Wednesday night in Charlotte against Gordon Hayward and the Hornets. It will be the official start of Rick Carlisle's second tenure as Pacers head coach.
Indiana fans have high hopes for the Blue & Gold under Carlisle. The team will initially be without a pair of starters, as T.J. Warren remains out indefinitely as he rehabs a foot injury and Caris LeVert will miss at least the first four contests with a sore back, but the Pacers still have plenty of firepower.
Malcolm Brogdon, who agreed to a multi-year contract extension on Monday, will again run the offense, coming off the best season of his career (21.2 points and 5.9 assists per game last season). And in the frontcourt, the two-headed monster of two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis and the NBA's leading shot-blocker, Myles Turner, returns for another season.
The Pacers' most impactful offseason addition might well have been rookie guard Chris Duarte, who Indiana drafted with the 13th overall pick. The 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic already has a polished offensive game and impressed in the preseason, starting three of four games and averaging 13.8 points per game. Expect Duarte to play a major role from day one, especially until LeVert and/or Warren return.
The Hornets are looking to improve on their record from last season, when they finished in 10th place in the East and lost to the Pacers in the first round of the Play-In Tournament. Charlotte has an emerging star at the point in LaMelo Ball. Ball was named Rookie of the Year in 2020-21, when he averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.6 steals while starting 31 of 51 games. Ball's numbers figure to improve this season as he moves into a full-time starting role.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Torrey Craig, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Hornets: PG - LaMelo Ball, SG - Terry Rozier, SF - Gordon Hayward, PF - Miles Bridges, C - PJ Washington
Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon - probable (left shoulder sprain), Justin Holiday – questionable (left ankle sprain), Jeremy Lamb - questionable (sore right wrist), Caris LeVert – out (sore back), Kelan Martin - out (sore left hamstring), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
Hornets: Miles Bridges - probable (right knee discomfort), Terry Rozier - probable (left ankle sprain)
May 18, 2021: The Pacers dropped 40 points in the first quarter and never looked back, routing Charlotte, 144-117, in the first Play-In Tournament game ever in Indianapolis.
Eight Pacers reached double figures in the victory. Oshae Brissett scored a team-high 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, Doug McDermott tallied 21 points, and T.J. McConnell collected 17 points, five assists, and four steals.
"Everybody got going," said Malcolm Brogdon, who had 16 points and eight assists. "It's the best when all your teammates score and get to have fun, and everybody's standing up on the bench. I thought we had fun tonight, and I thought everybody contributed. That's the best part of tonight."
Miles Bridges led the Hornets with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting, eight rebounds, and four assists in the loss. Cody Zeller added 17 points off the bench on 7-for-7 shooting.
- The Hornets won two of three regular season games against Indiana last season, the first time Charlotte won the season series since the 2015-16 season.
- Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb spent four seasons with the Hornets from 2015-19.
- Carlisle enters the season 15th in NBA history with 836 career victories, 28 behind Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay.
The Pacers host Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat for Opening Night presented by Gainbridge on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 PM ET. Secure your seats today and help fill Gainbridge Fieldhouse to cheer on your Pacers. Find Tickets »
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: Bally 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)