Pacers Fall Short vs. Hornets
Al Jefferson and the Indiana Pacers entered Monday night’s tilt with the Charlotte Hornets just 2-9 on the second night of back-to-backs, and they left 2-10 after a slow start led to a 100-88 loss.
Indiana led midway through the first, but the Hornets reeled off 11 straight points to go up 20-11 with 3:11 left in the quarter. The Pacers responded with a 3-point play by Monta Ellis, but the Hornets went on to extend their scoring burst and mount an 18-5 run to end the quarter.
Turnovers plagued Indiana in the second, as the Hornets went on multiple runs to extend their lead to as many as 23. Despite Paul George’s 19 first-half points, including a shot at the halftime buzzer, the Pacers trailed by 21 at the break.
Indiana opened the third quarter determined to set a different tone for the second half and began to climb back by scoring the first 10 points of the third. The Hornets began to match Indiana offensively, keeping the lead between 11 and 13 until Paul George’s three at the 2:26 mark got the deficit under double-digits at 69-61. The Pacers went to win the third 29-16 and take an eight-point deficit into the fourth.
The Pacers continued to battle in the final frame, and another three by George closed the gap to seven with 8:12 remaining. However, Charlotte called a timeout and went on a game-sealing 14-4 run though that gave them a 17-point lead with 3:48 to play.
“We came out, we started this game flat, not a lot of energy at all,” head coach Nate McMillan said of his team’s start. “We dug ourselves a deep hole.”
The Pacers actually outshot the Hornets 45.7 to 40.7 percent but Charlotte made up for it with an astounding 19-2 free throw advantage.
Still finding his rhythm since coming back from dental surgery, Al was scoreless in seven minutes on the floor.
The Pacers meet the Detroit Pistons at home on Wednesday in a matchup of teams in the thick of the playoff race. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. EST.