What: Charlotte Hornets (1-3) at Indiana Pacers (3-2)
When: 7:00pm Eastern
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse; Indianaoplis, IN
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast (maybe, if you’re lucky), NBA League Pass
Outfitting: Hornets–Statement (purple), Pacers–Association (white)
Lines: Hornets +4.5, O/U 240.5
Hornets: Cody Martin-out (knee), James Bouknight-out (knee), Frank Ntilikina-out (leg)
Pacers: none (must be nice)
The Hornets go to Indiana losers of three games in a row that all followed the same script. The Hornets got off to a slow start, let their opponent get a bunch of easy baskets early, and then spent the rest of the game fighting uphill only to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. There’s no excuse for tonight’s game to follow that same script. The Hornets are coming off two days of rest, while the Pacers are playing their second game in as many nights.
The Pacers played their first ever In-Season Tournament game against the Cavs on Friday night, and eked out a late win. The Hornets have a big rest advantage.
Tonight’s game should be a fast, high scoring affair (if you couldn’t tell by the really high 240.5 over/under above). The Hornets play at the second fastest pace in the league, while the Pacers play at the fourth. However, the Hornets get into the paint a lot more and shoot a lot more free throws, while the Pacers are much more perimeter oriented. The Pacers attempt the second fewest free throws in the league, but they attempt the fifth most 3-point attempts. That’s scary for a Hornets team that just watched the Rockets go bonkers from deep.
The Pacers are led by guard and frequent LaMelo Ball comparison Tyrese Haliburton, who is averaging 19.5 points and a league high (by a wide margin) 12.5 assists per game. They have a balanced attack where eight players are averaging double digit points per game.
The Hornets are closer to the Pacers than the team’s current standings would suggest. The Pacers have the second worst defense in the league, but they’ve made up for it with good enough offense. The Hornets have been bad on both sides, but you’d think the offense is going to tick up at some point. There’s a chance for that to happen tonight.