Pacers Use All-Around Attack to Squash Hornets

A balanced team attack sealed a resounding victory for the Indiana Pacers over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night in the play-in game as they won 144-117. Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 14 points, 21 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal & 1 block in a dominant all-around game, while seven other Pacers scored in double figures. 

Doug McDermott was one of them, as he came out with the hot hand and had a 16-point 1st quarter, knocking down a trio of three pointers early in the frame. Despite nursing a hamstring injury that has bothered him since late April, Malcolm Brogdon chipped in 16 points and 8 assists. No Pacer played more than 33 minutes, so they will be well rested for their next game against the Wizards, which will be their second straight elimination game. 

On Charlotte's side of the ball, they just could never get going in this one, as their inexperienced lineup couldn't handle the pressure of a Pacers team that was clearly more seasoned. LaMelo Ball, Devonte' Graham and P.J. Washington have zero combined playoff games and it showed - the trio shot a combined 8 for 32 in a lackluster performance. 

Not all of their young players struggled though, as Miles Bridges was the only Hornets player with bounce in this game, shooting 10/16 FG on route to a game-high tying 23 points, to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. After the game, Bridges didn't mince words about his team's performance. 

Regardless of their complete no-show in the loss, the Hornets have an extremely bright future ahead of them, with Ball leading the way as the likely Rookie of the Year. His chemistry with Bridges (who showed he's much more than the best in-game dunker in the NBA and had a fantastic end of the year - averaging 20.3 ppg & 6.8 rpg in his last 19 games) is only going to improve and turn out more highlights. Terry Rozier had a stellar season, posting a career-high 20.4 ppg along with 4.4 rpg & 4.2 apg. With other young talents in Washington and Graham, as well as a resurgent Gordon Hayward (who happened to miss the play-in game due to a sprained foot), look for the Hornets to be back in the thick of things next year. 

Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports