CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Friday night was a rough one for the Indiana Pacers (29-24).
The Blue and Gold gave up a season-worst 133 points to the Charlotte Hornets (22-29), as the Hornets avenged a loss to the Pacers earlier in the week with a 133-126 victory over Indy on Friday. Victor Oladipo poured in 35 points for Indiana, but Kemba Walker (41 points) and Nic Batum (31 points) outdid Oladipo.
Indy was missing head coach Nate McMillan in the loss, who was gone due to personal reasons. He will return to the bench on Saturday. Dan Burke roamed the sidelines in place of McMillan on Friday.
Friday’s first quarter was a historically bad one for the Pacers.
The Hornets scorched Indy for 49 points in the opening period, the most points the Pacers have ever given up in a single quarter. It also set a franchise record for points scored in a quarter for Charlotte. And last, no team in the NBA has scored that many points in a quarter so far this season.
Charlotte did not miss a two-point attempt in the first (12-for-12) and nailed seven of 11 three-pointers, giving them a 49-37 lead after one.
It was a much cooler second quarter, with the Hornets outscoring the Pacers 22-20. Charlotte led by as many as 18 and went into the half with a healthy 71-57 advantage.
Indiana has had a knack for completing comebacks this season and they pulled off another successful rally in this one.
The Blue and Gold started the third quarter on a 12-5 run, quickly trimming Charlotte’s lead down to seven. Later in the period, a 10-2 run left the game tied at 82. The Hornets were unfazed, however, taking the lead back just 40 seconds later. They never looked back.
Charlotte led 96-91 after three and held on throughout the fourth quarter. The Pacers pushed from start to finish in the frame, but it seemed as if every time Indy hit a shot or two to get close, the Hornets responded. Indiana got as close as four, but the hometown Hornets never let things get any more interesting than that down the stretch.
Oladipo led the Pacers in scoring with 35, his eighth 30+ point game this season. Myles Turner was solid again, notching a second consecutive double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds). Five other Pacers also finished in double figures, with Bojan Bogdanovic‘s 18 points coming next.
The duo of Walker and Batum was too much to handle, though. The tandem accounted for 72 of Charlotte’s points. Walker also dished out nine assists, while Batum grabbed nine rebounds. Frank Kaminsky was Charlotte’s next best scorer, finishing with 15 points.
Indiana will look to bounce back when they return home on Saturday night. The Pacers will battle the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:00 p.m., as each team plays in the second half of back-to-backs.