INDIANAPOLIS – This time the Pacers get the early lead in a back-to-back against the same team.
With the Domantas Sabonis injury crisis clearly averted, the Pacers (11-7) got contributions from several guys in Wednesday’s 116-106 win over the Hornets (7-11).
It was Sabonis not missing any game action after suffering a bruised knee on Monday night. With an MRI showing no structural damage, Sabonis was in the lineup on Wednesday and recorded a triple-double against Charlotte.
Doug McDermott continued his great start to the season, scoring 28 points in 28 minutes off the bench.
And strong starts by Malcolm Brogdon (25 points) and Justin Holiday (19 points) led to the Pacers getting out to a lead that they held for virtually the entire game.
Brogdon pointed to key stops and the ability to get out and run as the catalysts for the Pacers 10-point victory.
Indiana knocked home 16-of-40 from behind the arc.
McDermott’s big night came with him hitting just 1-of-5 from long distance. It was Holiday knocking home 5-of-10 and Brogdon connecting on 4-of-7 from three-point range.
For Charlotte, Indiana natives Gordon Hayward (16 points on 6-of-14 shooting) and Cody Zeller (10 points and 14 rebounds) had some moments against their hometown team.
The Pacers will stay in Charlotte, taking on the Hornets again on Friday.
Three Things Learned
1. What Knee Injury? Monday’s anxiety turned into another ho-hum, All-Star type performance from Domantas Sabonis. A game-time decision entering Wednesday, Sabonis’ bruised knee didn’t keep him sidelined. Instead, he recorded his 6th career triple-double. Sabonis was 9-of-10 from the floor, scoring 22 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists. Like many teams, the Hornets had no answer for all the variety of playmaking that Sabonis brings to the half court.
2. Doug McDermott Continues To Excel: If you are making a list of players who have flourished the most from Nate Bjorkgren’s arrival, Doug McDermott might be atop it. McDermott was sensational on Wednesday, scoring 28 points in 28 minutes off the bench. What really shows McDermott excelling so much under Bjorkgren is seeing him score as much as he did on Wednesday, while only going 1-of-5 from behind the arc. He was 11-of-17 inside the arc against the Hornets, driving the ball and finishing in the lane routinely. Early in McDermott’s NBA career we probably forgot this was a guy who put up insane scoring numbers in college. He can be much more than just a dead-eye shooter. It’s been a pretty good contract year for the 29-year-old McDermott.
3. Myles Defending Without Fouling: With Myles Turner continuing to garner more and more attention around the NBA, Wednesday was a reminder of just how important he is to simply staying on the floor. Players are so cognizant of Turner’s presence on the floor. When he’s off it, there’s a confidence for guys to drive the lane and try to and finish at the rim. And with Turner battling some foul trouble on Wednesday, you saw how different the Pacers are with and without him defensively. Turner had 4 blocks in 27 minutes and altered several others.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-@Hornets (Friday, 1-29, at 7:00 PM)
-76ers (Sunday, 1-31, at 7:00 PM)
-Grizzlies (Tuesday, 2-2, at 7:00 PM)
-@Bucks (Wednesday, 2-3, at 7:00 PM)
-Pelicans (Friday, 2-5, at 7:00 PM)