The Charlotte Hornets held on to beat the Indiana Pacers tonight, 116-108. It was a team effort for both sides, but the Hornets were able to cling on to their first-half lead, despite Indiana’s second-half surge.
It was a tale of two halves in Indiana. The Hornets dominated the first half with elite two-point shooting while the Pacers struggled to get things going. However, the second half told a completely different story. The Pacers began hitting their shots, and the Hornets started to waver. As has been the case all season, Indiana’s first-half struggles were more a result of their poor offense, rather than Charlotte’s good defense.
Charlotte only managed to scrounge together 19 third-quarter points. While the Pacers only had 25 themselves, it was enough to light a spark. They got themselves back in the game and would remain in striking distance for the rest of the contest.
Terry Rozier (35 points) and Gordon Hayward (18 points) played huge roles in the scoring column, while LaMelo Ball (21 points, 9 rebounds, 12 assists) controlled the pace of the game. For Indiana, it was Caris Levert (27 points) who led the way on offense, though it wasn’t his most efficient performance (34.8 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from deep). Five other Pacers finished with double-digit scoring marks.
Despite an amazing field goal percentage (51.8 percent), the Hornets were cold as ice from deep for most of the game. They were quick to adjust, though, as they only attempted 26 threes on the night. That‘s the least this team has attempted all season long, with the previous low being 29.
Instead of launching threes, the Hornets focused on feasting in the paint. On a night where they were missing both Bridges and Washington, they poured in 54 points in the paint. They outscored the Pacers by 22 in that regard.
However, the Pacers were a constant thorn in the side of Charlotte. It seemed as though every time the Hornets were able to get some momentum, the Pacers nailed a three in response. They took 45 threes, the most they’ve taken in a game since November 28th. In addition, they nailed 17 of them - the most they’ve made in a game since November 5th.
In the end, a pair of deep balls from Rozier put the game just out of reach for Indiana. LeVert and Myles Turner hit a couple of timely threes in the final few minutes, but it just wasn’t enough to get over the hump. Charlotte just barely hung on to earn their third straight win.
Charlotte will now have three days off before taking on the red hot Phoenix Suns on January 2nd. That one tips off at 7:00 p.m.