Pacer’s Torch Hornets in Play-In Sport, 144-117
Doug McDermott scored 16 of his 21 points in the first quarter for the ninth Pacers to attend the loser in the Washington Wizards-Boston Celtics clash on Tuesday. The final game on Thursday or Friday determines which team will play in the first round of the playoffs against the best-filled Philadelphia 76ers.
TJ McConnell had 17 points from the bench and Malcolm Brogdon scored 16 points and eight assists on his return from an absence of 10 games with a right Achilles tendon injury.
Two-time all-star Domantas Sabonis recorded 14 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists for the Pacers who had overcome Caris LeVert’s absence due to the league’s health and safety protocol.
Indiana shot a sturdy 55.2 percent off the ground and 45.7 percent out of 3-point range to keep the Hornets out of the postseason competition.
Charlotte’s Miles Bridges scored 23 points and Cody Zeller made all seven of his shots to finish off the bench with 17 points. Terry Rozier had 16 points despite missing 13 of 20 shots from the ground – including all nine from the 3-point range.
Rookie LaMelo Ball made just 4 of 14 shots, finishing with 14 points for the Hornets, who scored just 12 of 40 from a distance en route to their sixth straight defeat.
The Pacers stormed off the blocks behind a sparkling start from McDermott, who took his first five shots – including four from 3-point range – to put Indiana 7-8 ahead 23-9 in the first quarter. The Pacers moved from beyond arc 7 versus 14 to increase their lead to 40-24 at the end of the first quarter.
Justin Holiday ended his team’s sizzling first half with a 3-pointer to give Indiana a 69:45 lead during the break.
The Pacers scored the first seven points of the third quarter to effectively take the game out of reach.
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