The Indiana Pacers move above .500 for just the second time this season with an impressive win over the Charlotte Hornets. Once again, the Pacers came to play in the fourth quarter despite struggles to close the first two, shooting 14-17 in the final quarter to outscore Charlotte 34-21.
Despite shooting well to start and maintaining a healthy shooting advantage for much of the night, the Pacers found themselves in a game due to a sizable free throw edge for the Hornets. The Hornets went 28-32 on the night from the line while Indiana was just 7-10.
This helped the Hornets stay close and go up despite shooting just barely over 30% for much of the night. Indiana managed to offset the free throw disparity with another big night from beyond the arc. The Pacers hit a season best 17 three pointers and all eight Pacers who took a three hit one.
The three point barrage was led by Myles Turner, who went 4-7 from beyond the arc as part of his 22 point, seven rebound, four block night. Turner capped his night with a step back three pointer that doubled as the dagger for Indiana. Turner finding a reliable three point shot seemed possible, but not so immediate.
Through the first 21 games of the season, Turner was just 6-24, but he’s hit a three in three of the last four games, shooting 8-13. Water may find its level on his three point shooting as he continues to build on it, but seeing his range expand beyond three point arc is big, even bigger to see him sink a step back late in the fourth.
Myles Turner made 3 threes all of last season...— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 13, 2016
He made 4 tonight including this https://t.co/M2iCdTNaL4
Turner was joined at 22 points by Paul George, who has played exceptionally well the last five quarters, lifting his teammates play by leading by example. George was 9-17 on the night, hitting three three pointers. He was once again huge in the fourth quarter, responding to the Hornets cutting a nine point lead to six by scoring seven of Indiana’s next nine on 3-3 shooting.
The other two in that run came from Thaddeus Young, who along with Glenn Robinson III, played well within the offense as the fourth and fifth options to give the Pacers what they needed for the win. Young scored nine, including a three and a hustle rebound to coast to coast bucket as part Indiana’s push to close the win.
Robinson was moved into the starting lineup with the absence of Monta Ellis, who will still miss the next three with a groin injury. He had only three points, but did what he needed to do; make hustle plays and focus in on the defensive end. Robinson finished with six rebounds and three blocks.
Jeff Teague finished with a 16 point, 11 assist double double, putting together an efficient game on 5-8 shooting with 3-3 from three point range while he and Robinson did well to limit the effectiveness of Kemba Walker, who scored 12 points on 4-16 shooting.
Rodney Stuckey led the bench with 14, four rebounds, and four assists, but banged knees early in the fourth and did not return, though he was available to return. C.J. Miles scored 11 points as the fifth Pacer in double figures, hitting three threes himself.
He and Al Jefferson helped Indiana close the third quarter strong, turning a two point deficit into a three point lead heading into the fourth. Jefferson had just six points, but all six coming at the end of the third and starting the fourth was a huge boost for the Pacers in setting the tone for how Indiana was going to close out the win.
The Pacers have now won back-to-back games for the third time this season, doing so in impressive fashion for the third time this season. The challenge for the Pacers will be to bring this level of play onto the road where they face the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans on back-to-back nights.
They’ll enter Wednesday’s game against Miami having lost to four of the five worst teams in the NBA. The Heat currently sit with the sixth worst record, showing just how far away from an easy win this will be for the Pacers.