When: 8:00 pm EST
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
How to watch: Bally Sports South, NBA League Pass
In case anyone didn’t know, the Charlotte Hornets actually did not play a basketball game yesterday. It simply didn’t happen. What we all saw on our television screens was an illusion. The Hornets had a day off leading into this game with the Indiana Pacers.
If only that were the truth. Charlotte gets a finite number of chances to flex their muscle in primetime, but that certainly did not happen against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. The best thing about sports, though, is that a tough loss is usually just a day or two away from being old news. The Hornets have a chance to put that behind them in Indianapolis this evening.
Winning the second game of a back-to-back against playoff-level teams is difficult, much less on the road, but this Hornets team defies expectations; these are the exact types of games that they’ve been winning all season long. Indiana has lost three of their last five games, but their top-end talent is still legitimately good.
Caris LeVert has played 10 games as a Pacer since returning from surgery to treat renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney. He hasn’t quite gotten up to speed as Indiana slogs through an underwhelming season, but he’s still averaging 14.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game. It’s really awesome to see LeVert back on the court so soon.
Domantas Sabonis (left leg) and Jeremy Lamb (toe) are both listed as “day-to-day” at time of publish, and we should know for sure whether or not they’ll play some time this afternoon.
The Hornets and Pacers split their first two meetings back in late-January.
Thursday’s game against Brooklyn was one of the worst efforts the Hornets put forth this entire season. From the get-go, there was a total lack of energy and effort and it showed while they trailed by 15-30 points for the duration of the game, scoring a measly 11 points in the first quarter. Losing to the Nets is perfectly okay—they’re a great team and will probably make the Finals, but there was little-to-no effort from any single Hornet in that game. Given their reputation, we shouldn’t expect that to carry over into tonight, but it’s also hard to blame them if they’re tired.
This is just as tough of a road trip as the one Charlotte went on just prior to the All-Star break. Collecting just one or two more wins in the next week would make it much easier to stomach, even if they get blown out by a good team(s).
LaMelo Ball (wrist) is the only player on the Hornets’ injury report. Malik Monk should be a full-go tonight after being slowly worked back into the rotation against the Nets.
Update: Monk is not a full-go. The injury he suffered in Brooklyn was a sprained ankle and he will be out tonight.