The Indiana Pacers wrapped up the regular season with a loss to the Charlotte Hornets, one that wasn’t particularly close. The Pacers opted to rest Victor Oladipo, Thaddeus Young, and Bojan Bogdanovic with the team locked into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
The Pacers led early, but the Hornets used a 21-4 run to push them ahead by double figures. The game wouldn’t get much closer than that the rest of the night as the Hornets unleashed a barrage from three, hitting 18 on the night, making up the one major difference in an otherwise contested game.
In the loss, the Pacers actually deceptively succeeded in rolling out the tank. While maybe not the intended purpose of the game, Indiana now stands to jump a few spots in the draft. Perhaps the only downside was that the tanking effort was too stealthy: the young guys of Ike Anigbogu, Edmond Sumner, and Alex Poythress didn’t receive much run. The trio only got in in the final two minutes, but Sumner did score his first NBA points.
There were some ups and downs individually for those who did play. Glenn Robinson III joined Darren Collison in the starting lineup with 13 points, the duo hitting six of Indiana’s eight threes in the game while Domantas Sabonis pulled in a 10 & 10 double double off the bench. T.J. Leaf got extended run in the second unit as well, scoring 13, shooting 6-12, working towards two offensive rebounds and four second chance points.
Myles Turner unfortunately continued to struggle, shooting 1-8 with three rebounds with Dwight Howard finishing with 14 points and 17 rebounds. Turner’s shot didn’t look close at times, which is an unfortunate way for him to head into the postseason against either Tristan Thompson or Joel Embiid.
Lance Stephenson as well played well with nine points and 13 rebounds, but had a number of Lance plays, none more emblematic than a play in which he blocked Howard at the rim, only to completely ignore Michael Kidd-Gilchrist come up with the rebound and dunk right next to him.
Lance splats Dwight Howard, celebrates, forgets play isnt done yet, wide open dunk for Hornets. Love you forever Lance. pic.twitter.com/ym5cVVi26o— Pettywise (@World_Wide_Wob) April 10, 2018
The Pacers wrap up their regular season ready to hit the road in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, but they still won’t know who they’ll play until tomorrow night when both the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers play their final games.
The Sixers will host Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back while Cleveland hosts New York. A 76ers win means Indiana will face LeBron James and the Cavs, but a Philly loss and Cleveland win swaps the opponent, setting up a matchup against the upstart Sixers.