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Pacers blown out by Charlotte leading into All Star break

By Kyle Beery | @BeeryK

Bankers Life Fieldhouse was as empty as it has been in a while. There was no energy in the arena, and the Indiana Pacers reflected that in a 117-95 loss against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Pacers will have a little extra time to sit on their worst loss of the season, as they take the next week and a half off for the All Star break.

Indiana was never able to get much of anything going two nights after surviving a close game against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Indiana’s lone All Star Paul George led the team with 22 points, but it was Charlotte’s Kemba Walker that led all scorers with 25.

George will be making his third appearance in the All Star Game and second start.

“They just imposed their style of play,” George said. “They come out, they shoot threes, they spread the floor, and that’s something we’ve struggled against all year, with spread lineups.”

Charlotte shot 43 percent (12-of-28) from three-point range, and 52 percent from the field.

Indiana, on the other hand, shot just 22 percent (4-of-18) from deep and 43.5 percent overall.

(Photo courtesy of Frank McGrath - Pacers Media) Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
(Photo courtesy of Frank McGrath – Pacers Media)
Pacers coach Frank Vogel.

Head coach Frank Vogel said he did not think his team was taking an early All Star break, they simply got outplayed.

“We got outplayed by a red-hot team, and a team that is playing with great confidence,” Vogel said of the Hornets who have now won three straight and five of their last six. “Quite frankly, right now it’s not a good matchup for us, as we’re transforming and we’re evolving.”

The Pacers have been using two big men on the floor at the same time, and Vogel said this game was part of the transitioning phase, especially teaching 19-year-old rookie Myles Turner.

Turner started off hot, with eight points in the first four minutes of the game, but finished with 10 points and five rebounds.

Charlotte’s bench outscored Indiana’s 54-33. Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said his bench has been improving from watching a lot of film.

“The challenge in this league is always, it’s never ‘are you talented enough,’ it’s ‘can you do it night after night?’,” Clifford said. “Those guys are good players and the better everyone can sustain good play, the better team we will become.”

After the break, the Pacers will go on a three-game road trip to Oklahoma City, Orlando and Miami. Their next home game is not until February 24 against the New York Knicks.

George said it will be nice to take a break this weekend, as well as getting to talk to other players around the league.

“I’m looking forward to rubbing elbows with a lot of these guys,” George said.

Indiana is now sitting in 7th place in the Eastern Conference at 28-25, one game ahead of 9th place, and a game and a half behind 4th-place Miami. Charlotte’s recent surge has put them one game behind Indiana at 27-26, holding onto the final playoff spot.

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