Preview: The Hornets look to beat the Pacers to avoid an 0-5 home stand

Mar 20, 2023 - 12:00 PM
<a href=Charlotte Hornets v Indiana Pacers" src="" />
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (22-50) versus Indiana Pacers (32-39)

When: 7:00 PM EST

Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBATV

The Hornets close out a five-game home stand tonight against the Indiana Pacers. Charlotte has now lost six straight games at the Spectrum Center, so let’s hope tonight for a little home cooking.

Indiana will be without All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton who will miss the game due to a right ankle sprain. Rookie Andrew Nembhard will start in Haliburton’s place. Guard Buddy Hield is shooting the lights out hitting about 43% of his 3-point shots. Forward Jordan Nwora averages 12 points per game and hits 40% of his 3s while Aaron Nesmith averages around 10 points. Center Miles Turner is having a career year scoring about 18 points and more than seven rebounds per game with elite rim protection.

The Pacers bench is led by heady veteran point guard T.J. McConnell. Rookie guard Bennedict Mathurin, the No. 6 pick in the 2022 draft, is having a great first season averaging over 16 points and four rebounds per game. Third year center Jalen Smith averages over nine points and about seven rebounds per game off the bench.

Charlotte is just playing out the string at this point. Two players to focus on are point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and center Nick Richards, both of whom have had increased roles in light of recent injuries to LaMelo Ball and Mark Williams. They can be solid depth pieces in the Hornets future.

Over Charlotte’s last seven games Smith has averaged 10.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Richards, meanwhile, has averaged 7.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and an impressive 1.7 blocks per game over that same stretch.

With the focus on development, let’s see what more Smith and Richards have to offer.

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