The Charlotte Hornets were outscored 65-50 in the second half of a loss to the Indiana Pacers, 125-113, though an injury to LaMelo Ball overshadows all that happened during the first 46-and-a-half minutes of the game.
Ball led Charlotte (4-12) with 26 points (5-8 3P), six assists and two steals. PJ Washington put up 24 points, four rebounds and four assists. Kelly Oubre Jr. tallied 17 points, a season-high 13 rebounds (career-high 7 OREB) and two steals. Terry Rozier added 17 points and eight assists. Mason Plumlee finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double in five games.
Tyrese Haliburton led Indiana (7-6) with 22 points, 11 assists and three steals. Bennedict Mathurin dropped in 20 points off the bench and Myles Turner posted 20 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double.
The Hornets found Plumlee inside for the first four points before Indiana went on a 12-2 run that was halted by a floater from Ball. Charlotte was able to take a brief lead after the first timeout, but they weren’t shooting well enough to keep up with an efficient Pacers offense in the first quarter. Washington dropped consecutive dimes to McDaniels and Ball, the latter of whom showed off his finishing touch with a few excellent driving finishes early on. The Hornets shot 0-9 from long-range to open the game but were able to tie the game, 27-27 as the opening frame closed.
Washington scored 11 of the team’s first 13 points in the second quarter, nailing back-to-back threes to remove the lid from the basket and force the Pacers into a timeout as the Hornets took a 40-34 lead. Plumlee and Nick Richards gave the Hornets some high quality minutes at the five in the first half, with Plumlee battling down low with Turner at every chance he got and Richards diving hard to the rim and outworking opponents for rebounds. Charlotte’s second-quarter shot diet was strictly threes and layups, which got them out to a double-digit lead until a hard push from the Pacers cut the lead from 13 to three, 63-60, in the last three minutes of the half.
Ball and Rozier each hit from distance to open the second half, though the Pacers would soon go on a 7-0 run to take the the lead, 75-73. The Hornets answered back with a contact layup from Rozier and a corner three from Washington in semi-transition to regain the lead. The game went back-and-forth a bit from there, with Indiana working up a five-point lead before Ball sank back-to-back threes. Isaiah Jackson went one-for-two at the line to tie the game, 90-90 just before the end of the third quarter.
Mathurin scored a quick six points for Indiana to start the final frame before Ball buried a 30-footer. Unfortunately, not was much going for the Hornets as the game wound down; the Hornets stormed back in front behind some high-energy two-way play from Oubre during a 9-2 run, but Indiana went on a 13-4 run capped off by a Haliburton three to give themselves a 115-106 lead late.
Of course, the bad luck didn’t end there. With less than two minutes to go, Ball chased a loose ball out of bounds and rolled his previously-sprained left ankle on a courtside fan’s foot. All the energy was sucked out of the arena as the franchise point guard hobbled to the locker room, and the Hornets eventually fell to the Pacers, 125-113. We’ll be providing updates on a potential injury to Ball as they come, which will likely be tomorrow morning or afternoon.
- ankle sprains