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Hornets vs. Pacers Preview: Pacers try to keep home cookin’ going against Hornets

The Pacers have won their last five games at the Fieldhouse.

NBA: Preseason-Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers (22-18) will warm up the Fieldhouse on Sunday evening when they host the Charlotte Hornets (11-29) for a 5 p.m. tip.

The Hornets have had a rough season which has them firmly entrenched in the Wembanyama Sweepstakes despite being a young team showing promise last season. This is due in large part to franchise guard LaMelo Ball missing the first 13 games of the seasons and 24 games overall. LaMelo missed first 13 games and 24 overall this season.

The Pacers beat the Hornets after LaMelo first returned, 125-113 but then the youngest Ball brother went on the shelf for the next 11 games. Local Legend, Gordon Hayward was not available for that Pacers win and has also missed 19 games. Those DNPs include the last two games with Hayward listed as doubtful to play against the Pacers.

The Pacers should not count their Ws before they hatch, however. Just look at Charlotte’s last game when they ran out the Milwaukee Bucks (with Giannis, Jrue) 138-109 thanks to a 51 point (!!!!!) first quarter. LaMelo and Terry Rozier combined or 13 three balls and 63 points...so yeah, gotta take care of business.

The Pacers have won their past five home games and seven of the last nine games overall. Rebounding is always a threat to derail a Pacers win and even in the last win over Charlotte, they lost the battle of the boards. But the beauty of the Pacers over the past few weeks, is that you never know who is going to step up to provide those winning moments. Yes, Tyrese Haliburton will do his damage and Myles Turner will anchor the D, but Nesmith? Nembhard? Mathurin? Jalen Smith?...who will make those game tipping plays, is the fun question to follow.

Also makes for a fun team to follow.

DraftKings Odds: Pacers -5, O/U 239 (latest DraftKings odds here)

When: 5:00 p.m. ET

Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

TV: Bally Sports Indiana/Bally Sports + app

Radio: 93.5 FM/107.5 FM

Projected Starting Lineups:

Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton, Andrew Nembhard, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Myles Turner

Hornets: LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Jalen McDaniels, PJ Washington, Mason Plumlee

IND: Jalen Smith - questionable (sore right hand), Daniel Theis - out (right knee surgery), Kendall Brown - out (right tibia stress reaction)

CHA: Gordon Hayward - doubtful (left hamstring soreness), Kelly Oubre Jr. - out (left hand surgery)

Please share your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.