(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – For the sixth consecutive time at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the Indiana Pacers (23-18) have defeated their opponent after clawing their way back to defeat the Charlotte Hornets (11-30) 116-111.
The first twelve minutes of basketball for the blue and gold were not good. They scored their second fewest points in a quarter this year with 15 points. Good thing for the Pacers is that their three-point defense came out strong by holding the Hornets to 1/6 beyond the arc. The Pacers were 0/10, which means the combined teams show 1/16 (6.3%). The bench players for Indiana played in 3+ minutes and went zero for seven. After one, the Pacers trailed the Hornets 27-15.
Indiana’s defense would continue to be strong into the second quarter and held the Hornets beneath 20 points in the quarter by forcing seven turnovers along with Charlotte shooting 27% from the field. The high-octane offense the Pacers have displayed for the majority of the season, was firing on all cylinders in quarter two. The team scored 32-points, in large part because of their three-point shooting. Indiana knocked down seven triples and Tyrese Haliburton led the team in scoring in the quarter with seven points. The only thing that did not go in favor of the Pacers was the rebounding margin. Charlotte was +8 in the quarter. At intermission, the Pacers found themselves ahead 47-45. The only player in double figures through 24-minutes was Charlotte’s P.J. Washington with exactly ten.
For the last three-years, Myles Turner has been in trade discussions and the Hornets has been a team rumored to be interested in Turner’s services, and he went to work in the third. Turner scored eight points and a few rebounds. LaMelo Ball only played ten minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, but when he was on the floor in the third quarter, he had that offense humming. Charlotte scored 34-points in the quarter and the starting five amassed 29 of those points. Charlotte would take the lead back in the third quarter after closing the final 3:13 on an 11-2 run. Pacers trailed the Hornets 79-73.
Indiana saved their best quarter for the final twelve minutes of basketball. After scoring 15, 32, and 26 points in the previous three-quarters, the Pacers exploded for 43-points. The man in the middle for Indiana continued his third quarter success in the final 6:41 that he was on the floor. He scored a dozen points in total and blocked a driving dunk attempt by Fort Wayne, Indiana native, Mason Plumlee that sealed the game.
Turner was not the only Pacer that was in double figures during crunch time. Buddy Hield scored ten points in the fourth by drilling a couple big three-pointers and a couple free-throws. Finally, the Pacers were able to keep the Hornets off the glass by outrebounding Charlotte 10-5. Indiana wins it 116-111.
NOTES: Tyrese Haliburton notched his 22nd of the season, 24th game with 10+ assists, and his third consecutive double-double. His longest streak on the season is seven games (6 games is his longest double-double streak). Depending on the time in which you bet the Pacers season total for wins, the Pacers have cashed the over 22.5 season wins, or if you have 23.5, then the Pacers are one game away from cashing that bet. Indiana is now tied with the Brooklyn Nets in wins in “clutch games” with 16. On the season, Indiana is 16-10 compared to 11-34 last season (worst in NBA).
TOP PERFORMERS: Myles Turner (29p, 9r, 4b), Buddy Hield (21p), Tyrese Haliburton (16p, 13a, 3s), Andrew Nembhard (19p, 4a, 4s), P.J. Washington (22p), Terry Rozier (19p, 6a), and Mason Plumlee (18p, 13r). For the full box score, click here.
NEXT UP: After a couple days off, the Indiana Pacers go on a quick one-game road trip to The Big Apple to take on the New York Knicks. Tip-off on Wednesday night in Madison Square Garden is set for 7:30pm, with the Kroger Pregame Show with Pat Boylan starting at 7pm.