The Charlotte Hornets showed their resilience and determination on Monday night, as they overcame a 21-point deficit in the first half to defeat the Indiana Pacers 111-102 at home. The Hornets improved to 2-0 since acquiring five new players via trade, while the Pacers lost their third consecutive game.
Bridges leads the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds
Miles Bridges was the star of the night for the Hornets, as he recorded his second double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Bridges also had four assists, two steals and two blocks, and made some clutch plays down the stretch to seal the victory.
Bridges scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a thunderous dunk over Myles Turner that gave the Hornets a 101-94 lead with 3:19 left. He also hit a 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining to put the Hornets up by 10, and made two free throws with 28 seconds to go to ice the game.
Bridges said he was motivated by the challenge of facing Turner, who leads the NBA in blocks per game. “He’s a great shot blocker, so I just wanted to go at him and try to make a play for my team,” Bridges said. “I knew he was going to jump, so I just tried to finish strong.”
Hornets’ newcomers make an impact
The Hornets’ recent trade with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers brought in five new players: Seth Curry, Tre Mann, Brandon Miller, Nick Richards and James Bouknight. All of them contributed to the Hornets’ win, as they combined for 41 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
Curry, who started at point guard in place of the injured LaMelo Ball, had 15 points and six assists, and hit three 3-pointers. Mann, who came off the bench, had 14 points and four assists, and also made three 3-pointers. Miller, a rookie forward, had eight points and four rebounds, and showed his versatility on both ends of the floor. Richards, a second-year center, had two points and four rebounds, and provided some rim protection. Bouknight, another rookie guard, had two points and two assists, and displayed his athleticism and energy.
Hornets coach James Borrego praised the newcomers for their quick adaptation and chemistry with the team. “They’ve been great. They’ve been learning on the fly, they’ve been playing with confidence, they’ve been playing with joy,” Borrego said. “They’ve been a breath of fresh air for us. They’ve given us a spark, they’ve given us a lift, and they’ve given us some depth.”
Pacers struggle to contain Hornets’ offense
The Pacers started the game strong, as they built a 21-point lead in the second quarter behind the hot shooting of Pascal Siakam and T.J. McConnell. Siakam had 18 of his 22 points in the first half, while McConnell had 14 of his 16 points in the first half. The Pacers shot 58% from the field and 50% from 3-point range in the first half, and led 63-48 at the break.
However, the Pacers could not sustain their offensive efficiency in the second half, as they were outscored 63-39 by the Hornets. The Pacers shot only 37% from the field and 25% from 3-point range in the second half, and committed 10 turnovers that led to 15 points for the Hornets.
Pacers coach Rick Carlisle lamented his team’s lack of defense and execution in the second half. “We just didn’t do enough to stop them. They got going, they got confident, they got momentum, and we couldn’t turn it around,” Carlisle said. “We had some good looks, but we didn’t make enough shots. We didn’t make enough plays. We didn’t do enough to win the game.”
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