The Hornets return to the streets to take on the Indiana Pacers after an upset win over the Bucks. The Hornets are currently 11-29 on the season, good for a 14th best record in the East. Meanwhile, conference opponents Pacers have posted a 22-18 record for the season, good for the seventh seed.
The young Hornets have struggled with a variety of injuries this season, often making them easy prey for playoff-caliber opponents. Still, Friday’s stunning 138-109 win over Milwaukee shows that this Charlotte squad hasn’t rolled over the edge and plans to fight in every game they can.
The Pacers are another young team with a rising star point guard from the 2020 class, Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton was a late lottery pick of the kings that has thrived since the Indiana trade. A keen knowledge of the course has helped him guide a surprisingly competent Pacer team to more success than many anticipated.
The Pacers also have Myles Turner, who appears to have been a trade target for the Hornets for years. Turner can do a little bit of everything, but his hit blocking abilities are where he offers the most value. The Hornets need to be careful against the Pacers’ central defense as Indiana currently has the third-most block per game in the NBA (5.1).
Without Kelly Oubre Jr. to guide Charlotte’s squad through their toughest injury woes, Charlotte will need efficient perimeter play at both ends of the court. In particular, they must find a way to ban Buddy Hield, who currently leads the NBA in 3-pointers while shooting the 10th-best 3PT% in the league.
Matchup to Watch: LaMelo Ball vs. Tyrese Haliburton
Both point guards come from the same draft class and have had enough success in their third NBA season to stand out from the rest of the guards in the class. Both guards pass the ball with mastery well beyond their years and have long-running All-Stars. Watching them play directly gives viewers a chance to compare the young stars head-to-head.
Team Stats 2022-23
PPG: 115.6 (IND), 112.0 (CHA)
RPG: 42.0 (IND), 45.8 (CHA)
APG: 26.9 (IND), 25.2 (CHA)
FG%: 46.3% (IND), 44.6% (CHA)
3FG%: 37.1% (IND), 32.5% (CHA)
FT%: 80.0% (IND), 74.5% (CHA)
Team leaders 2020-21 (returnees only):
Minutes: Tyrese Haliburton – 33.5 (IND), Terry Rozier – 35.4 (CHA)
FG%: Isaiah Jackson – 56.5% (IND), Mason Plumlee – 64.7% (CHA)
3FG%: Buddy Hield – 42.9% (IND), LaMelo Ball – 37.7% (CHA)
PPG: Tyrese Haliburton – 20.4 (IND), LaMelo Ball – 23.7 (CHA)
Roleplay: Myles Turner – 7.9 (IND), Mason Plumlee – 9.5 (CHA)
APG: Tyrese Haliburton – 10.2 (IND), Terry Rozier – 5.3 (CHA)
SPG: Tyrese Haliburton – 1.7 (IND), LaMelo Ball – 1.6 (CHA)
BPG: Myles Turner – 2.2 (IND) , PJ Washington – 1.1 (CHA)
Statistics key: PPG – Points per game | RPG – Rebounds per game | APG – Assists Per Game | SPG – steals per game | BPG blocks per game
List of Wizards
PG: Tyrese Haliburton, TJ McConnell, Trevelin Queen
SG: Andrew Nembhard, Benedikt Mathurin (DTD)
SF: Buddy Hield, Chris Duarte, Oshae Brissett
PF: Aaron Nesmith, Jalen Smith (DTD), James Johnson
C: Myles Turner, Isaiah Jackson, Goga Bitadze, Terry Taylor
Head Coach: Rick Carlisle
List of hornets
PG: LaMelo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., Theo Maledon
SG: Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre Jr (AUS), James Bouknight
SF: Gordon Hayward (DTD), Jalen McDaniels, Bryce McGowens
PF: PJ Washington, Kai Jones, JT Thor
C: Mason Plumlee, Nick Richards, Mark Williams
Head Coach: Steve Clifford
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