The Charlotte Hornets look playoff ready after defeating the Indiana Pacers 108 – 101. This was the Hornets third victory over the Pacers this season, giving them a two-game advantage in the eastern conference playoff standings and the number six spot. Kemba Walker played spectacular shooting 100% from the free throw line and 52% from the field finishing with 33 points and 10 assists for his second double-double of the season.
Both teams traded baskets early in the game, where fans saw 7 lead changes. Paul George of the visiting Pacers scored 15 of his 35 points in the first half. Strong play by Walker and Nicolas Batum who scored 15 of his 31 points in the half, gave the Hornets a 55 – 50 lead at halftime.
The Hornets biggest challenge of the night came in the 3rd quarter where the Pacers rallied behind 24 combined points from George and Monta Ellis to take an 82 – 80 lead in the contest. However, the Hornets used strong team defense to close out the game holding the Pacers to 19 points and 5-of-18 shooting. Al Jefferson, who had several injuries this season, gave the Hornets a spark off the bench with 13 second half points with 6 coming in the final quarter.
Every Hornet who played tonight scored a basket. In a postgame interview Coach Clifford stated, “The team has a good understanding of who we are and what we have to do, we are healthy and now they are playing harder and smarter.” The Hornets have a 21-9 record at home this season where they will face their next 6 opponents starting with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday at 7pm.
-Tony Stanford Jr.