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INDIANAPOLIS – On paper, it was one of the poorest defensive performances of the season for the Indiana Pacers (11-7).
But Nate McMillan wasn’t so much frustrated with his team’s defense, which has been outstanding this season.
Some nights, the offense is just too good to slow down, and that was the case on Wednesday, according to McMillan, with the Hornets beating the Pacers 127-109.
“Both their first and second units made shots all night long and it happens sometimes,” McMillan said after his team’s three-game winning streak came to a close on Wednesday night in Charlotte.
“There’s going to be games they play better, and they did. I don’t think it was lack of effort from our guys. They just played better.”
NBA’s leading scorer Kemba Walker was actually held in check from a scoring standpoint.
Walker scored just 16 points on Wednesday, but his playmaking in distributing the ball was key. Walker had 11 assists, leading to the Hornets’ balanced offensive night with 9 guys scoring at least 8 points.
Charlotte led by 8 at halftime and pulled away for good in the third quarter, taking a 21-point lead into the final period.
The Hornets knocked home a season-high 18 three pointers.
For a second straight game, the Pacers played without Victor Oladipo.
While the offensive output for the Pacers was still there, they definitely could have used Oladipo on the defensive end of the floor.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers with 20 points. Doug McDermott scored a season-high 15 points off the bench.
Indiana will now return home for a Friday night tip against the Spurs, before heading out west next week.
Three Pacers’ Takeaways:
–Shootout Style Is Tough Without Oladipo: Monday night’s convincing win over the Jazz was indeed the anomaly in a world without Victor Oladipo. Expecting that to be the norm would be discrediting what Oladipo gives you on both ends of the floor. He’s an All-Star for a reason, multiple reasons. Wednesday’s game quickly turned into a shootout and the Pacers just don’t have the horsepower, sans Oladipo, to trade scoring punches. The assist numbers were again up for the Pacers, but they needed their star on the road.
–Finding Minutes For Holiday: Aaron Holiday’s shot wasn’t there on Wednesday (2-of-9 from the field, 1-of-7 from three), but he did attack the rim and add 11 points off the bench. As Nate McMillan said after Monday’s win over the Jazz, Holiday is making a strong case to earn minutes for the Pacers even when Oladipo returns. If it was me, those minutes would come in place for the occasional run McMillan has given to T.J. Leaf, in that 10th man role. Yes, Holiday and Leaf obviously don’t play the same position. But you can mix and match rotations to still give Holiday minutes, when wanting to stretch the rotation to 10 guys. Taking substantial minutes away from Darren Collison or Cory Joseph right now is not the immediate answer for more Holiday, in my opinion.
–McDermott Finds Rhythm: A bright spot from Wednesday was Doug McDermott scoring a season-high 15 points, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc. It’s been around a month since we last saw McDermott have that night. The Pacers have talked about needing to find McDermott more touches and shots. He’s getting paid $7 million a year to do more than just be the occasional corner three threat. The Pacers need to use McDermott, so we will see if Wednesday can kick start more consistent looks and production for the sharpshooter.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-San Antonio (Friday, 11/23)
-at Utah (Monday, 11/26)
-at Phoenix (Tuesday, 11/27)
-at Lakers (Thursday, 11/29)
-at Kings (Saturday, 12/1)