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Game Preview: Pacers vs Hornets

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After wrapping up a four-game Western Conference road trip Monday night in New Orleans, the Pacers (17-31) return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host the Charlotte Hornets (26-21). It is the fourth and final time the squads will meet this season. Charlotte has taken all three previous matchups.

The Blue & Gold return home after going 2-3 on its Western Conference road trip. The squad started strong, rebounding from a loss to the Clippers by picking up wins against the Lakers and Warriors, but dropped its final two contests. After losing to the league-leading Suns, Indiana fell in another close matchup on Monday against the Pelicans.

The Pacers' 117-113 defeat in New Orleans drops their record to 2-13 in games decided by four points or fewer. Judging from Indiana's first three games against Charlotte, another close contest could emerge. Two of their three prior battles were decided by the aforementioned margin, while the third produced an eight-point Hornets victory.

Although Indiana's home stint is short (one game) it will be a welcomed sight. While not perfect, the squad plays better at home, amassing a 12-12 record over the first 24 games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The Blue & Gold average 110.8 points at home — five more than on the road — while shooting 2.2 percent better (46.7 percent to 44.5).

The Hornets will arrive in Indianapolis on the second night of a back-to-back — a component of the NBA season in which they have struggled. Charlotte has played in eight back-to-back scenarios this year. They have been swept three times and are 0-8 on the second night of the set.

Pacers fans are hoping rookie Duane Washington Jr. can repeat his performance from the Pelicans. The former Ohio State guard knocked in seven threes in 23 minutes off the bench — setting a new franchise rookie record.

Projected Starters

Caris LeVert

Caris LeVert

Chris Duarte

Chris Duarte

Justin Holiday

Justin Holiday

Torrey Craig

Torrey Craig

Goga Bitadze

Goga Bitadze

LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball

Terry Rozier

Terry Rozier

Cody Martin

Cody Martin

Miles Bridges

Miles Bridges

c

Mason Plumlee

Pacers: PG - Caris LeVert, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Torrey Craig, C - Goga Bitadze
Hornets: PG - LaMelo Ball, SG - Terry Rozier, SF - Cody Martin, PF - Miles Bridges, C - Mason Plumlee

Injury Report

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon - out (sore right Achilles), T.J. McConnell - out (health and safety protocols), Domantas Sabonis - out (left ankle sprain), Myles Turner - out (left foot stress reaction), T.J. Warren – out (left navicular fracture)

Hornets: Gordon Hayward - questionable (right foot discomfort), Jalen McDaniels - out (sprained left ankle)

Last Meeting

Dec. 29, 2021: For much of the night, the Pacers had to play catch-up to the Charlotte Hornets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Ultimately, that led to their demise as Indiana dropped a 116-108 decision to the visitors.

In the first quarter, Charlotte mounted a 16-3 run that gave the squad a lead that it never relinquished. Despite climbing out of an 18-point hole, the Blue & Gold were never able to pull off the comeback.

The main wrench in the Pacers' recovery plan was Terry Rozier. The six-year veteran nicknamed "Scary Terry" frightened fans from deep all night. He finished with 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting, including 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) from long range.

With the Pacers trailing 105-100 and hunting for momentum, the squads battled for a jump ball with 3:12 remaining. Myles Turner appeared to win the tip, poking the ball towards Caris LeVert's direction. However, Caleb Martin smartly stepped in front of LeVert, intercepting the rock. Martin found Rozier open on the perimeter, and Rozier obliged with a triple. It pushed the lead to eight at a crucial time.

LeVert gave Indiana another shot one possession later. But Rozier had another rebuttal. 16 seconds later, the guard drilled another three, deflating Indiana's sails for good.

LeVert tallied a team-high 27 for the Pacers and hauled in seven boards. Domantas Sabonis recorded a double-double, finishing with 15 points and 18 rebounds. Turner and Oshae Brissett added 14 apiece.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have lost five straight games to the Hornets..
  • The Blue & Gold are 46-15 all-time in home games against Charlotte during the regular season.
  • With a win, Charlotte would sweep the season series for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

Tickets

After a five-game Western Conference road trip, the Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Gordon Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

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), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)