Pacers vs Hornets

GAME RECAP: Pacers 119, Hornets 80

Domantas Sabonis leads a balanced attack scoring 21 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists versus Charlotte, 119-80.

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 119, Hornets 80

Domantas Sabonis leads a balanced attack scoring 21 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists versus Charlotte, 119-80.
Feb 25, 2020  |  00:01

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Feb. 25, 2020

Feb. 25, 2020 - Domantas Sabonis, T.J. Warren, and Justin Holiday respond to the 119-80 victory over the Charlotte Hornets Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Feb 25, 2020  |  02:03

Brogdon Sinks The Three

Feb 25, 2020  |  00:05

McDermott Dunks It Home

Feb 25, 2020  |  00:07

Turner Hits From Deep

Feb 25, 2020  |  00:08

Warren Steal and Slam

Feb 25, 2020  |  00:06

Game Rewind: Pacers 119, Hornets 80

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

Game Recap

After a 46-point loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday — the Pacers' second-worst loss in franchise history — head coach Nate McMillan told reporters that Tuesday night's game against the Charlotte Hornets was about pride.

The players responded accordingly.

Despite missing three guards (Jeremy Lamb, Victor Oladipo, and Edmond Sumner), the Blue & Gold (34-24) bounced back with a dominant 119-80 victory over the Hornets (19-38) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They've won four straight, and seven out of the last eight regular season home games against Charlotte.

"You know, coach just wanted us to come out with a different mentality," Domantas Sabonis said postgame. "After an embarrassing night last game, we just wanted to come in and set the tone early."

With 10:51 to play in the first, Malcolm Brogdon responded to a Malik Monk layup with a 29-foot triple. The Pacers never surrendered the lead again.

The team went on to shoot a blazing 28-of-41 (68.3 percent) from the floor to cap off a marvelous first half and take a 69-44 lead into the break. Though the rest did little to stop Indiana's momentum, as they earned a lead as high as 43 points before the final buzzer. Indiana finished 49-of-86 (57.0 percent) from the field, and improve to 19-6 in games in which the team shoots at least 50 percent of better.

Six players ended up in double figures, with Domantas Sabonis leading the way with 21 points. The big man also nabbed 15 rebounds for his 44th double-double of the season and fell one assist shy of a triple-double. T.J. Warren bounced back with a 19-point night on 9-of-12 shooting, while Justin Holiday added a bench-high 16. Myles Turner finished with six points, 10 boards, and a career-high eight blocks, six coming in the first half.

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"I just wanted to set the tone early and I was able to establish our defense for our team," Turner said. "I think everybody followed suit. They did a hell of a job tonight."

In reverse fashion from Sunday night, Indiana found points on four of its first five possessions to grab an early advantage over the visiting Hornets. Warren scored seven of the Blue & Gold's first 11 points. Then, a wide-open Turner triple from the right wing with 7:50 left in the first snagged a 14-9 lead for Indiana and forced Hornets head coach James Borrego to call an early timeout.

Out of the timeout, the Pacers rattled off a 7-2 spree to stretch its lead to double digits, 21-11, on an Aaron Holiday three from the left side with 5:59 to play. Holiday earned his 21st start of the season in relief of Oladipo, who continues to be restricted with a sore back.

The fireworks continued, as the Blue & Gold stretched their lead to as high as 28-16 with 3:18 to play after Sabonis completed a three-point play and Brogdon followed with a pull-up jumper in the paint.

The Hornets were primed to cut Indiana's lead to single digits before the end of the period, but Indiana's big men thought otherwise. Goga Bitadze flipped an outlet pass to JaKarr Sampson, who ran the length of the court and slammed home a right-handed dunk with 4.0 seconds left to give Indiana the 35-25 lead after one. The forward from St. John's finished with 10 points.

Another Sampson slam began a 16-2 Indiana run over the first 4:31 of the second quarter. At the 9:48 mark, Doug McDermott got in on the high-flying action, finishing a powerful, driving right-handed flush. With 7:31 to play, Sabonis capped the run by drilling a wide-open three from the left corner to give Indiana a 51-27 lead.

Despite a timeout from Borrego, the Blue & Gold didn't miss a beat. They found buckets on six of their next seven possessions. With 3:53 to play, Warren made a running finger-roll layup to snag a 62-35 lead for the Pacers.

The Pacers then closed out the rest of the quarter strong keeping the Hornets trailing by 20-plus points for the remainder of the frame. With 17.8 seconds left to play, Aaron Holiday finished the first-half scoring with a nifty driving floater, stepping by two Hornets players for the finish.

The mandatory break did little to stop the Blue & Gold's offense from firing on all cylinders. Indiana connected on its first five possessions to reel off a 10-2 run over the first 2:38 of the third quarter. Back-to-back buckets from Brogdon followed by a Sabonis layup gave Indiana a 79-46 lead and was enough to force Borrego to call yet another early timeout.

Out of the timeout, the Pacers' smothering defense limited Charlotte to just two points over the next 4:14 of play. Back-to-back visits to the charity stripe for Sabonis and Aaron Holiday netted an 85-48 Pacers lead with 5:27 to play. Caleb Martin then broke the Hornets scoreless streak, notching a pair of free throws with 5:09 showing.

For the remainder of the frame, the Hornets barely made a dent in the Pacers' lead. They found just two more field goals for the rest of the period. A three from Brogdon followed by a Justin Holiday jumper with 1:19 to play pushed the Blue & Gold's lead to 92-53. Holiday would then add two more free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining to keep the lead at 39 as they headed into the final frame.

With 10:54 to play, a fadeaway jumper from T.J. McConnell over the outstretched paw of 6-foot-11 center Cody Zeller finally pushed the Blue & Gold's lead to the 40-point mark (96-56).

McDermott then scored six of the next eight Pacer points in a flurry of cuts to the basket. His floating jumper with 8:13 to play put the Pacers ahead 104-61, and it was clear that Charlotte would not make a historical comeback tonight.

At the 6:04 mark, Sampson continued to add to his season-long dunking highlight reel. McConnell found Sampson cutting to the basket with a bounce pass in the paint. Sampson then happily obliged the eager crowd with a monstrous right handed slam to give the Pacers a 108-66 lead.

"I think I always do that," Sampson said on the ferocity of his dunks while smiling. "That's just how I dunk. I don't know how to dunk any other way."

In the only parallel to Sunday night, the Pacers' deep reserves then closed out the rest of the game. The only difference being the smiles on their faces. It was a much-needed reversal of fortune for the Blue & Gold, as each game becomes more and more important down the stretch.

The Pacers host the Portland Trail Blazers for the first and only time on Thursday night.

Inside the Numbers

Indiana shot 56.2 percent (9-of-16) from deep tonight. They are 18-6 when they shoot at least 40 percent from beyond the arc.

Indiana matched its season high for the fourth time this year with 35 assists. The Pacers are 12-2 this season when they record 30 or more assists in a game.

The Pacers smashed the Hornets on the boards, 57-39.

All 12 players available for the Pacers tonight recorded points.

You Can Quote Me On That

"I didn't see the Toronto game coming, where we never really established ourselves. I really felt that we were going to go up there and win that game. I felt we could beat that team but they totally smacked us. But I loved our response tonight. We were all about business and we put together a really solid 48-minute game and I thought we were connected out there at both ends of the floor and it looked like they were having some fun but without trying to embarrass anyone. I told the guys 'a great deal of respect for the way the responded." –head coach Nate McMillan on what the last two games say about the team's mindset

"Anytime you lose like that, you have to be able to bounce back somehow, someway. And this is a great bounce back game for us. Hopefully get us back on our feet, get some good momentum going." –Myles Turner on the response to Sunday's loss

"They needed a win after getting beat in Toronto the other night. They came out and beat us in every facet of the game. It's a little disappointing to get beat, especially like that. I don't think we all competed tonight. So it's disappointing but we have another one tomorrow." –Hornets center Cody Zeller on the Pacers' efforts tonight

Stat of the Night

Indiana bounced back from a 46-point loss (its largest since 1987) Sunday at Toronto by posting its largest win of the season (39).

Noteworthy

  • JaKarr Sampson finished in double figures for the third time this season.
  • Charlotte set a new season low with 80 points in tonight's loss. Their field goal percentage of 33.3 percent was their second-lowest total, trailing only their .308 mark they shot at Indiana on Dec. 15.
  • The Pacers won the final three matchups against Charlotte this season to take the season series 3-1.

Up Next

The Pacers conclude a two-game homestand by hosting Carmelo Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 8:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

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