For the record books: Pacers' season hits new low after Hornets erupted for 158 points in 32-point drumming
No defense, no identity and no leadership. That's not a recipe for success. Hornets scored 87 points in the second half.
The Pacers returned to Indy after a five game, nine-day road trip across three time zones. Playing in what is essentially a continuation of that trip on Wednesday, you knew it was going to be difficult. That first game back is often a challenge and once again, they were without every starter but Caris LeVert.
The Hornets had lost two in a row, including the night before in Toronto. And they were without Brownsburg native Gordon Hayward, who the Pacers tried to deal for two offseason ago, because he had symptoms and then entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The Pacers (17-32) were within one at halftime, 71-70, and then had the worst half of basketball in franchise history.
They allowed 87 second-half points, a franchise-high by an opponent, and they were outscored 87-56.
The Hornets scored a franchise-record 158 points, also the most points ever by a Pacers opponent, topping the Nuggets’ high of 155 points from Dec. 1982. That record stood for almost 40 years.
Afterward, the Pacers didn’t have much to say about this 158-126 loss.
Reserve center Goga Bitadze was made available first. He arrived into the interview room 37 minutes after they suffered their largest defeat of the season, 32 points. By then, the Pacers TV postgame show had ended so their camera guy had disconnected the camera and left.
Bitadze, who scored 17 points, said they have to stay positive, that they have communicate better and more often. “It’s a long season and this kind of stuff happens to most of the teams and today was one of the nights we just couldn’t get it going.”
An occasional off night will happen when energy is lacking and shots aren’t falling. However, giving up the most points in franchise history, committing 31 fouls — about 10 more than usual — and turning it over 20 times isn’t just an off game.
They didn’t compete. They didn’t fight. And there was no leadership.