When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets certainly handled business Monday night. Up against arguably one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics, the team was able to go to toe to toe with them throughout the course of the game. This performance was highlighted by none other than point guard Kemba Walker, who scored another high-level scoring outburst of 43 points on 56 percent shooting from the field. Veteran guard Tony Parker came in clutch through the final minutes of that one, hitting two key baskets to secure the victory.
The Hornets hope to start a string of winning streaks as they have been a bit inconsistent to start off the year. In this match-up, they’ll be facing an underrated Indiana Pacers team.
The Pacers have once again proved to the NBA why they should be considered a mid-tier contender in the east. Their team is headlined by guard Victor Oladipo who is currently listed as questionable in this one. Oladipo has truly come to his own since his arrival from Oklahoma City and has molded his game in one that you can build a group around. He is a sheer volume scorer who can beat you on all three levels in the half court. Facilitating is also a key tool in his overall game as he’s been in contention for most assists per game on his team. It’ll be interesting how Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb will handle his business defending Oladipo throughout this one.
The key arrival, in terms of production, that has made a jump this year has been Bojan Bogdanovic. The Croatian swingman has evolved from a role player on the Brooklyn Nets to becoming a reliable second option for the Pacers’ offense. Averaging 15 points a night this year, his efficiency from downtown is still there as he’s currently shooting 53 percent from that area.
Tyreke Evans is also a major reason why the team is so versatile. He offers size at 6’7” to play positions one through three, and has recently shown his ability to shoot from three. In fact, the Hornets were even interested in signing him before he made is way to Indiana.
Myles Turner, who is also questionable in this one, and Domantas Sabonis round out the Pacers key contributors. Turner still hasn’t made that expected leap this year as he’s averaging 11 points and 5.3 rebounds. Many people, including myself, thought he could reach that twenty-point per game mark, but that isn’t the case now. The combination between him and sharpshooter Sabonis has allowed the Pacers to run a flowing offense that has allowed for many open opportunities.
The Pacers aren’t the third seed team for no reason. They have the offensive firepower to go on a hot streak and put up points in bunches. In fact, they’re fifth in the NBA in total field goal percentage from the field.
The Hornets have had its fair share of memorable games with this group over the past few seasons. Between Hornets legendary commentator Steve Martin announcing his last game to Kemba Walker nailing a game-winning shot two years ago, there have been quality instances with these two on the floor.
Who knows, maybe we’ll see some another memorable moment tonight?