An impressive first half turned sour in the second for the Indiana Pacers, losing to the Charlotte Hornets by one point in their season opener. The Pacers dominated the game through 24 minutes, outscoring the Hornets 75-59. Good times continued into the third, as they expanded their lead to 21 early in the third.
That’s when the wheels fell completely off for the Pacers. The Hornets turned the corner, scoring 24 straight points to take the lead, building it into double figures halfway through the fourth. The Pacers settled down, scoring eight straight points to climb back into it, going ahead as things began to swing back and forth.
The Pacers went ahead with 12.4 seconds on a pair of Torrey Craig free throws, but a failure to corral a rebound on Charlotte’s ensuing possession sent P.J. Washington to the free throw, where he completed the go-ahead free throws with 4.6 seconds. Indiana came up short in the end, falling 123-122 in heartbreaking fashion.
Domantas Sabonis led the way with 33 points, going 13-19 with 15 rebounds, including an impressive 4-6 from three point range. Malcolm Brogdon overcame early shooting struggles in the fourth, hitting a pair of key threes to work them back into the game, finishing with 28 and 11 assists. Chris Duarte had a tremendous debut, scoring 27 points and hitting six threes.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, the Hornets simply came with more fire, forcing them into 17 turnovers and outscoring Indiana 22-8 in points off turnovers, proving impossible to overcome. The Pacers, at 0-1, will head to Washington to face the Washington Wizards on Friday.