An exciting back-and-forth affair between the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets went in Indiana’s favor in the fourth quarter, with a 22-7 Pacers run breaking a virtual deadlock to give the Pacers their seventh win in 10 games. It was a game waiting on a run by either team to be the determining factor, as the Hornets led 82-81 before the Pacers shifted the game with hustle plays and defense leading the charge.
Until the Pacers took the lead for good in the fourth, the game saw 16 ties and 16 lead changes, Indiana’s brief six point lead towards the end of the third was the widest margin for either team, one that Charlotte responded to with a 7-0 run to take the lead.
Even though the Pacers struggled to find a foothold on the game early thanks to big nights the Hornets got from Dwight Howard (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Nicolas Batum (22 points on five threes), the Pacers did well to weather the Charlotte push with big play from Lance Stephenson in the first half. Stephenson had 10 points, but made his biggest impact on the game came from his energy and passing, including a showcase play early in the second:
The Pacers had big nights across the board, led by Victor Oladipo with 25 points. Oladipo was part of a trio with Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner that shot a combined 27-38 from the floor. Oladipo made a bulk of his scoring contributions in the second and third, but pushed the Pacers into the lead for good to kick off the game deciding run.
Turner’s second game back proved to be one of his best games of the season, mastering the pick and pop game to score 22 points on 8-11 shooting. Turner led the way for the Pacers behind the arc with four threes. Four different Pacers found Turner on all eight of his shots, led by Darren Collison, who dished three of his six to Turner.
The Pacers had 28 assists, moving them to 16-3 when they have 25 or more. That ability to move the ball worked in their favor, playing towards a 22-14 advantage in fast break points. Indiana executed well in fast breaks, including a great three one break that saw two passes to a wide open Oladipo that pushed Indiana’s lead to six halfway through the fourth.
Young sent the pass to Oladipo as part of his four assists on the night, finishing with 16 points on 8-12 shooting. Young had a pair of steals to lead the Pacers along with Cory Joseph and Domantas Sabonis who each had two as well. Sabonis struggled early against Howard, but did hold his own as the night progressed, finishing with an 11 point, 10 rebound double double, leading the Pacers with three offensive rebounds.
The Pacers finished the night shooting 54% from the field, though most of that positive shooting came from Oladipo, Turner, and Young. T.J. Leaf did go 1-1 (as the recipient of Stephenson’s razzle dazzle play), hitting both of his free throws on a night the Pacers were 9-11, which proved enough against a Hornets team that went 13-20.
Indiana will wrap up their current home stand on Wednesday when they host the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis will enter 18-31 and just 5-16 on the road. The Pacers will need to once again take care of business to keep them on pace in the East where even after another win, they stand still in 7th with Milwaukee and Miami picking up wins.