The Indiana Pacers head into the All-Star Break on a loss, a particularly bad one, falling to the Charlotte Hornets in spectacular fashion. The Hornets sliced up Indiana's defense all night long, using a 35-18 second quarter to put the game effectively out of reach in the second half. The Hornets were a step quicker all night, resulting in either a good look from three or an easy shot inside.
After watching the Pacers more or less check out and stumble into a win over the hapless Lakers, Indiana couldn't afford to come into tonight's game with the same mindset, and it sure looked like they did and the result was their worst home loss of the season to a poor shooting Hornets team that's performed poorly on the road. Of course, the frustrating thing in tonight's effort wasn't so much the timing, but the opponent.
The effort of Myles Turner in particular kept Indiana alive through the first quarter, but once he went to the bench in the second quarter, the second unit of the Hornets had no problem exposing Indiana. Charlotte's bench outscored Indiana's with ease 54-33. Turner himself had 10 points, but eight of those came in the first quarter, his impact minimized as the game progressed.
Paul George led Indiana with 22 points, coming up with eight rebounds and six assists, but led Indiana with four turnovers. The Pacers as a team only had 11 turnovers, but the transition defense was poor as the Hornets scored 20 points off of those Indiana miscues. Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 25 points, not even hitting a single one of Charlotte's 12 three pointers while Indiana as a team shot 4-18.
Indiana has been looking for the All-Star Break for some time, and the effort tonight showed how badly they've wanted it. But if Indiana's going to start their break early, they'll need to make sure they come out of the All-Star Break with a purpose, one that begins on February 19th on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's the first of a three game road trip that includes stops in Orlando and Miami.