With Steve Martin calling his last home game for the Charlotte Hornets, the team didn’t send him out the right way. Steve Clifford’s team lost to the Indiana Pacers, 123-117, at home in another bad performance at the end of the season. Victor Oladipo led the way with 27 points, five assists and three steals. Domantas Sabonis had a career high 30 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Malik Monk led the team in scoring for the second straight game with 22 points while Marvin Williams chipped in 16 points.
The first quarter began with a bit of back and forth action. Marvin Williams got the team started with a couple of threes and had 11 of the teams first 17 points. Despite Myles Turner being in early foul trouble, Domantas Sabonis did well in his place. The Hornets had trouble taking care of the ball and it allowed for the Pacers to take more attempts to start. Victor Oladipo answered by making his first three triples.
Dwight Howard picked up three fouls in the first quarter and the Hornets seemed out of sync in the opening frame. In the end, Sabonis and Oladipo had the same amount of points (25) as the Hornets combined in the opening frame. The Pacers led by six at the end of the first 12 minutes.
Glenn Robinson III began the second quarter by hitting his first four shots for the Pacers. On the other side, Monk did well off the bench despite taking a hard shot to the head while trying to get through a hard screen. Sabonis continued his hot shooting as the Pacers had their lead as high as 15. Kemba Walker got on the board with seven quick points, but even his good run wasn’t enough to get the Hornets back in the game.
Through more hot shooting from Oladipo and the Pacers, the Hornets were kept at bay during the first half. At halftime, the Pacers led 70-57 after shooting 72 percent in the second quarter. At halftime, the Hornets paid tribute to the voice of the franchise, Steve Martin, with some of his best commentary including the famous Alonzo Mourning shot against the Celtics in the 1993 playoffs.
Although the first half was rough, the Hornets began the second half on the right foot, with Williams and Walker helping the Hornets back in the game with some good shooting. Charlotte forced a timeout early in the third quarter after cutting the deficit to six and then down to only two.
Despite making a good run, the Pacers were able to get their lead back up to 12 late in the fourth quarter thanks to a three from Darren Collison. In the end, the Pacers led by 14 after three quarters. Oladipo and Sabonis were 20 for 30 from the field combined in the first three quarters.
The Pacers were able to stretch their lead to 20 in the fourth quarter with former Hornet Lance Stephenson leading the way to start. The former Hornet is the latest to have a good game against Charlotte. Sabonis had a career night scoring 30 points and Lance Stephenson flirted with a triple double. The Hornets got as close as four thanks to a great effort from Monk, Willy Hernangomez, and the bench, but they couldn’t get any closer to the Pacers.
Overall, it was another bad defensive effort coupled with so many turnovers. The Hornets have one more game in the 2017-18 season. The now 35-46 Hornets travel to face these same Indiana Pacers in the second game of the home and home series. The season is almost over, Hornets fans. Also, thank you to Steve Martin for 30 years of calling the greatest games in Hornets history.