Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Friday’s road game vs. Indiana Pacers
By Richard Walker
Notes and observations from Friday’s 114-97 Hornets’ road win over the Indiana Pacers that improved Charlotte to 25-23 overall:
… Playing a road back-to-back after losing by 22 points was tough enough for the Hornets. But doing so in a venue where Charlotte historically struggles without Gordon Hayward (right foot sprain) for the second half made the task even more daunting. That’s why Hornets coach James Borrego was so pleased with his team. “This is probably one of the most proud wins of the season for me,” Borrego said. “This has not been the easiest building for us to win in.”
… Charlotte’s win was its first at Indiana since April 10, 2018, snapped a four-game losing streak in the venue and improved the Hornets to 14-46 all-time in road games against the Pacers.
… The Hornets won by leading at the end of all four quarters for the 14th time this season. That includes an impressive 18-3 mark when Charlotte leads after the second quarter and 20-0 when leading after the third quarter. “We showed resiliency again,” Borrego said.
… With Malik Monk (right ankle sprain) out at least two weeks, Borrego talked about the team being more creative offensively to find ways to score. On Friday, that translated into seven double figure scorers and 55 points off the bench. Reserve Miles Bridges, who started for Hayward in the second half, led the way with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Reserves Cody Zeller and Brad Wanamaker added 17 and 13 points, respectively, with starters Terry Rozier (15), P.J. Washington (13), Hayward (13) and Devonte’ Graham (12) also contributing. “I felt everybody who stepped on the court today contributed,” Rozier said.
… Borrego offered this on Hayward: “I don’t want to speculate on anything. I think he was getting a scan or an X-ray or something.”
… Bridges said having so many players get injured is challenging; Charlotte has lost LaMelo Ball (right wrist), Malik Monk (right ankle) and Gordon Hayward (right foot) in the last two weeks. “It’s always tough to see one of your teammates go down,” he said. “LaMelo, Malik and Gordon are all ‘high volume’ scorers. Everybody has to have the ‘next man up’ mentality.”
… Charlotte responded to every Indiana rally with a counter attack. When Indiana took a 41-38 lead midway through the second quarter, the Hornets closed the half on a 22-8 run to build a 60-49 halftime lead. When Indiana closed withing six late in the third quarter and again with 5:50 to play, Charlotte closed the game on a 17-6 surge.
What’s next: The Hornets continue their six-game road trip on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Boston. The trip continues Wednesday at Oklahoma City (8 p.m.) and next Friday at Milwaukee (9 p.m.). After the road trip, Charlotte will play 14 of its last 21 games at home starting with an April 11 1 p.m. game against Atlanta.