Good, Bad & Ugly: Hornets 122, Pacers 100
Kemba Walker works the baseline against Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner. (Getty Images)
Nate McMillan didn’t realize he was being hired to coach two teams -- the home Pacers and the road version -- but it’s up to him to meld them into one.
And he’d better hurry.
Remaining lifeless, listless, defenseless and winless on the road, the Pacers never really showed up in a 122-100 loss in Charlotte Monday night. The Hornets scored on their first 12 possessions, built a 21-point first-quarter lead and coasted the rest of the night as Indiana dropped to 3-4, with all of the losses coming on the road.
Coming of their best game of the year in a 111-94 rout of Chicago Saturday night, the Pacers produced their worst. And given how bad they’ve been on the road thus far, that’s saying something.
“We were a different team, night and day, from our last game against (Chicago),” McMillan said. “That effort, establishing a style of play offensively and defensively, is something you have to build consistency with. Tonight they jumped on us in the first quarter, we didn’t get any stops the first five, six, seven minutes of the game and it’s really important you establish your defense early, especially on the road.
“I can’t explain why. I thought we were ready. We had a good game to build off of, leaving home, beating (Chicago), played a good game at both ends of the floor. We knew Charlotte was a good team, they swept us last year, we had to come in here and be sharp, and right off the bat they just dominated the game from start to finish.”
On the road, the Pacers have allowed an average of 117 points on 51 percent shooting.
"We couldn't get a stop and we couldn't get a break," Paul George told The Associated Press. "It's concerning that they are scoring and no one cares. No one cares. We are looking bad. We are terrible right now. … We're all out of whack. There's no trust, there's no chemistry, there's no belief. We're kind of just lifeless right now.”
The Pacers have now lost four in a row to the Hornets for the first time ever, while Charlotte (5-1) is off to the best start in franchise history.
>> The Pacers only have three more road games this month, with nine of the next 11 at home.
>> C.J. Miles was one of the few players to bring any energy, scoring 23 points off the bench, making 5 of 11 from the arc. Miles has averaged 19 points on 58 percent shooting overall and 52 percent from the arc in the last three games.
>> Al Jefferson may finally have found his offensive game. Turns out, he left it behind in Charlotte. Pacers hope he can take it with him. Jefferson scored 12 points in 19 minutes off the bench, pulling nine rebounds.
>> Where to begin? How about the beginning: Charlotte hit 11 of its first 13 shots and 15 of 20, pushing the lead to 43-22 before the Pacers actually found some traction with their reserves, scoring 14 in a row including a buzzer-beating 32-footer from Miles to end the first quarter. That would be as close as they’d get the rest of the night.
>> The Hornets were just one point shy of their franchise record for points in the quarter, 44, set in 1992 against Golden State, and tied their record for points in a half with 75 in the first, good for a 20-point lead.
>> The starting backcourt was again a major problem. Jeff Teague fell back into his malaise and earned two early benchings for his inability to produce at either end. Teague scored nine points on 3 of 8 shooting and had four turnovers, while counterpart Kemba Walker completely dominated with 24 points and 10 assists. Teague is shooting 23 percent on the road (nine of 39) and 33 percent overall.
>> Monta Ellis continued to try to prove some kind of point by declining to shoot, attempting just four. In the last three games, he has taken 10 shots and scored 15 points. If a shooting guard neither shoots nor guards, why bother?
>> George had five more turnovers, bringing his total in the last three losses to 17. Opponents have racked up 69 points off 39 Indiana turnovers in the last two losses.
>> The frontcourt didn’t exactly bathe itself in glory, either. If Myles Turner is going to be the starting center, McMillan may want to consider a different, more complementary starter at power forward, because opponents are taking big advantage of the Pacers’ lack of size and strength inside. The Hornets had 20 points in the paint in the first quarter alone.
>> The Pacers showed so little defensive communication or energy, it prompted this from assistant coach Bill Bayno in his halftime interview on FSI: “We don’t know who we are defensively right now.”
>> At least they hope they don’t know who they are because if this is their true identity, get ready for the lottery.
>> Clearly frustrated by picking up three quick fouls and committing two turnovers late in the third quarter, Aaron Brooks picked up technical foul that led to a five-point play for the Hornets. While Kemba Walker was making a 3-pointer, Brooks leapt into Nicolas Batum underneath, with both players going out of bounds. That was Brooks’ fifth foul, which earned one free throw for Batum, and his extended protest landed the technical and the second free throw that pushed the Hornets’ lead to 94-69.
>> Roy Hibbert missed his fourth consecutive game with a sore knee. In his first year with Charlotte after spending last season with the Lakers, the former Pacers All-Star started the first two games, posting 15 points, nine rebounds and five blocks against Milwaukee in the opener, but lasted just four minutes in the second game and hasn’t played since.
>> And you know it’s a bad performance when you find yourself thinking,”You know, the Pacers could’ve really used Hibbert tonight.”