After losing 5 of 6 games to start the month of January, the Hornets have reeled off 2 nice wins in a row, including a solid road victory 108-93 against the San Antonio Spurs. In both games, the Hornets played very good defense, allowing 93 and 95 points respectively against two of the better offenses in the NBA. If the Hornets have any aspirations of squeezing into the playoff picture, they are going to need to play better on the road where they are currently on 6-15 for the season. They would also need someone else on the roster to step up and help PG Kimba Walker (25.2 PPG and 5.7 APG) with the scoring responsibilities.
This will be the 2nd game of a back-to-back situation for the Pacers. In the team’s 7 other back-to-back occasions, the Pacers are 5-2. While the Pacers offer very little in the way of flair, they have proven that solid conservative basketball is still a viable way to win basketball games. This is the league’s 2nd best shooting team, hitting 48.1% of its shots from the field and 37.2 of its 3-pointers. Throughout his career, G Victor Oladipo has had an issue with nagging injuries. It would seem this season is no different as he just doesn’t seem to have the same level of explosiveness he has shown in the past as evidenced by a drop in his scoring average from 23.1 PPG last season to 19.3 PPG this season, though still good enough to lead the team.
Prediction: When these teams met earlier in the season, the Hornets came away with a nice 127-109 victory in Charlotte. The game was played with a bit of pace with Charlotte shooting 56% from the field and an amazing 62% beyond the arc. The Pacers were without Oladipo for that one. Let’s look for another high scoring affair. Play over 219 (score – Indiana 119 -109)