When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports South(east), NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets take on a for sure playoff team in the Indiana Pacers who are led by All-Star Damantas Sabonis who is listed as questionable for tonights game. Sabonis would be a huge loss for the Pacers the All-Star is averaging a double-double this season at 20.4 ppg and 12.4 rpg. The Pacers sit firmly as the #4 seed in the east, this should be a good test and measuring stick for the Charlotte Hornets who have playoff aspirations this season. The Pacers are one of the most well-rounded and balanced teams in the league as they sit as a top 10 team in offensive efficiency and are not that far off from being a top 10 team in defensive efficiency as they are hovering around #11 in the NBA.
Keys To The Game
The Hornets have to take advantage of the Pacers on the boards. Indiana is a middle of the pack rebounding team in the NBA as they are currently ranked #18 in the NBA in team rebounding, they have not fared well in their matchups this year on the boards. If Charlotte can stay engaged and focused, they should dominate this area of the game as The Hornets have creeped their way into the top 10 rebounding per game in the NBA. We should see extra opportunities for the offense for 2nd chance points and this should allow them to get out on the Fastbreak quicker for easier baskets.
Slow Down Malcom Brogdon
Brogdon is having an all-star worthy season so far for the Indiana Pacers as he is averaging 22.7 ppg and is creeping towards another 50-40-90 season. The Pacers offense goes through Sabonis but Brogdon is in full control of the offense as he is the engine that makes the offense move. The Hornets have got to get into his air-space tonight on defense, and really force the ball out of his hands if they want to disrupt the Pacers half-court offense tonight. Indiana has been really good in the pick and roll this year and Brogdon has been the driving force completely dismantling offenses this season.
Clean Up Defensive Breakdowns
Over the last stretch of games there have been breakdowns in the defense that have started to become more frequent than usual. The Hornets have got to communicate more if they are going to continue running the zone as heavy as they do this season. Too many times have we seen guys flat out falling asleep on the weak-side of the defense and giving up some back breaking shots late in games. They have to stay engaged on that side of the ball or they will be burned as Indiana is sitting at almost 50% shooting as a team. If the Hornets are able to clean up some of the mishaps, they’ve been having on defense they should be in a good spot to walk away with the victory in this game especially with Sabonis being listed as questionable for tonight’s game.