Both teams seek to get back to the win column. But in the end, it was the Charlotte Hornets (25-23) that ended up with the victory against Indiana Pacers (21-26),114-97 at Bakers Life Fieldhouse. The Hornets got into an early stretch in the 1st half, leading 49-60 at the end of the 1st half. Yet, the scrappy Pacers got it close trailing only by 9 heading into the fourth. An early 7-0 run started by the Hornets gave them some slack lead by Devontae Graham and Terry Rozier. Midway through the fourth, the resurgence of the Pacers got them back to within 6 which kept the game close. The Hornets capitalized on the defense and made quality timed passes to shift the momentum to Charlotte for good.
Seven players from the Hornets were in double digits. Miles Bridges led the squad with 23 pts and 10 rebs in 31 minutes. The guards, Graham and Rozier had 12 and 15 respectively. Off the bench, Brand Wannamaker (13 pts and 4 asts) and Cody Zeller (17 pts and 4 rebs) were effective providing sparks throughout the game. Gordon Hayward started the game with an efficient 12 pts, 6 rebs, and 6asts after the first quarter. But, a foot sprain early in the second caused him to sit out for the rest of the game.
Without Malcolm Brogdon, the Pacers had to rely on other players to step up and take charge throughout the match. It was Caris LeVert who leads the team in scoring with 16 pts, 4 rebs, and 5 asts. A limping Sabonis (8pts and 10 rebs) left the game early in the third quarter, he played only 27 minutes in this game.
Star of the game
Without a doubt, Miles Bridges was the key factor to why the Hornets jumped out to a huge lead. It was in the second quarter where he poured out 16 of his 23 points through 3-point shots that caused an 11 point lead late in the second. With Rozier and Graham struggling with inefficiency, Miles Bridges was the go-to-guy for a while even making a ridiculous half-spin 3 pointer to end the 1st half. In the closing minutes of the game, he was a key component of the closing lineup to seal the win. Moreover, Miles Bridges emergence as a spark off the bench has been paying off for this team because of the way he hustles offensively and defensively on the court.
Brad WannaMAKER is the playMAKER this team needs after the loss of super rookie, LaMelo Ball. Wannamaker’s awareness to make the right play brings this team a lot more composure and fluidity to the offense. With this team loaded with good scoring guards, the Hornets needed a solid point guard who can facilitate the offense without the need for scoring in his arsenal. From what I’ve noticed tonight, his ability to pass and make the right play brings more attention to our bigs.
It was a different story tonight after the ugly loss to the Nets. Adding to that, the second unit of the Hornets won’t have to rely too much on isolation and individual skills. Brad Wannamaker fills up the role to take care of the offense without the need to score. The Hornets are currently in the third game of a 7 game road trip. They would love to build momentum with a playoff berth on the horizon.
The injuries of Hayward, Ball, and Monk are a big concern to take note of heading forward. The Hornets’ next few games are crucial as these games would likely determine the seed they would possibly have heading into the postseason. They will face the Celtics, Hawks, and Bucks over the next four games. All of those teams are currently a seed or two near them which says a lot at stake. As much as I would’ve loved to take on these teams healthy and complete, this team is neither. The other guys have to step up to the plate. P.J Washington is currently in a slump and it will be interesting if we see a bounce-back game over the next week. Every help for this team is needed heading into the road trip.
The Hornets are in for a ride for their playoff hopes. We would see a lot what this team is capable off over the next few games.
The Charlotte Hornets will face the Boston Celtics, April 4 3 pm PST at TD Garden. A great matchup for both squads
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