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INDIANAPOLIS – To keep their playoff hopes going, the Pacers will have to beat the Charlotte Hornets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday (6:30 PM).

With Indiana besting Toronto to end the regular season on Sunday, they secured the No. 9 seed in the play-in tournament.

For the Pacers to make the actual playoffs, they will have to beat the Hornets and then also beat the loser of the other play-in matchup—which pits Boston against Washington—later this week.

Indiana and Charlotte haven’t played each other since April 2nd. Charlotte won the head-to-head series 2-1, winning the lone meeting in Indiana (a 114-97 win on April 2nd).

The Hornets have lost 5 straight games are likely to be without Gordon Hayward (foot) on Tuesday.

The Pacers (34-38) split their final two regular season games this weekend, facing two totally different teams in terms of competition.

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis playing, the Lakers held on to their lead throughout the second half to beat Indiana, 122-115.

Indiana responded on Sunday with a win over the decimated Raptors, which clinched the home game that they’ll have on Tuesday night. Oshae Brissett scored a career-high 31 points against his former team, with the Pacers winning, 125-113, behind 34 assists (17 from T.J. McConnell).

As a reminder, this is how the play-in format will work:

-No. 7 Boston vs. No. 8 Washington (9:00 on Tuesday), with the winner locked in as the 7 seed.

-No. 9 Indiana vs. No. 10 Charlotte (6:30 on Tuesday), with the loser having their season over.

-Then loser of 7/8 vs. winner of 9/10 for the 8th and final seed in the playoffs (8:00 on Thursday), playing the Philadelphia 76ers in Round One.

 

Three Things Learned

1. Charlotte Is The Opponent: While it looked for so much of the final few weeks of the season that Indiana would face Washington in the first round of the play-in, it will actually be Charlotte, losers of 5 straight. That’s a break for the Pacers, who lost all 3 games to the Wizards this season. The Hornets are likely without Gordon Hayward (foot) and will now have to travel to Indiana for the game on Tuesday. Keys for the Pacers will be defending the ultra-quick Hornets guards of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Devonte Graham. Off the bench, Cody Zeller has done a nice job in prior matchups against Domantas Sabonis.

2. No Myles Turner Tuesday: It’s not a massive surprise, but Nate Bjorkgren pretty much confirmed on Sunday that Myles Turner (toe) would not be ready for the play-in game on Tuesday night. Turner injured his toe back on April 18th. That’s the only game he has played in since April 6th. Turner ended up missing one third of the games this season, the most of his career. When healthy, Turner is the anchor at the rim for the Pacers and one of the best in the NBA at doing his job there. But his absence in the play-in and for however long the Pacers keep their season alive, will continue to be felt. Perimeter defense must be locked in on Tuesday, Domantas Sabonis cannot get into foul trouble and some quality minutes from Goga Bitadze will be needed. In other injury news, Caris LeVert left Sunday’s win due to a migraine. Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) did do some pre-game work on the court, but he missed his 10th straight game.

3. Young Guys Offer Something: One of the unquestioned bright spots late in the season for Indiana was the play of several young guys. And it wasn’t necessarily the former draft picks offering that. It was the duo of Oshae Brissett and Kelan Martin having consistent roles, and delivering in such duties. Who knows what the future holds for either of these guys? But they’ve gone from after thoughts to players that will be playing some important minutes on Tuesday night. With the injury list including Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner and Aaron Holiday lately, along with Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner, the Pacers have had to really scramble to fill out the rotation. Brissett has actually been an every night starter, and Martin continues to give scoring pop off the bench. When you think about these two, and Sumner and Bitadze, the Pacers have actually seen some nice things from a few of their young players this season.

 

Eastern Conference Playoffs

-No. 1 76ers vs. play-in 8th seed

-No. 2 Nets vs. play in 8th seed

-No. 3 Bucks vs. No. 6 Heat

-No. 4 Knicks vs. No. 5 Hawks