The Charlotte Hornets, who defeated the Atlanta Hawks in the season opener, have suffered three straight losses and have a history of sluggish starts.
When the Hornets play the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night in Indianapolis, they’ll try to break the trend.
In the opening game of the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament on Friday, Indiana defeated the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 121-116 to end a two-game losing streak.
For the first time since losing to the home team Houston Rockets 128-119 on Wednesday, Charlotte is back in action. After the first quarter, the Hornets were behind 39 to 27.
“What we haven’t done, we haven’t started well,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. “You’ve got to play 48 minutes in this league. … The effort has been good, but playing hard in this league is not enough.
“Playing hard gives you a chance, especially a team like we have. But we’ve got to be purposeful from the beginning, and it’s been different things different nights.”
With guard LaMelo Ball, who is struggling this season after playing just 36 games the previous year due to ankle surgery, Clifford is being patient. After four games, Ball is shooting 30.5 percent from the field and 8 for 30 (26.7 percent) from 3-point range.
Last season, the Hornets faced Indiana three times and lost two of those games.
The Pacers are riding high after defeating the Boston Celtics by 51 points on Wednesday and winning their next game. In their matchup with Cleveland on Friday, Indiana gave it their all, starting two players from the rotation.
Tyrese Haliburton returned from a one-game absence due to a sprained right ankle and scored 18 points and dished out 13 assists, but Myles Turner led the team in scoring with 27 points.
the middle After missing one game due to a left knee sprain, Jalen Smith also made a comeback, scoring 13 points and pulling down five rebounds in just 17 minutes off the bench.
Turner stated that the Pacers, who shot 48.4 percent from three-point range (15 of 31), could achieve greater things as a result of the win.
Mark Williams and P.J. Washington, the front line for Charlotte, who have performed well in the first two weeks of the season, will pose a threat to Indiana on Saturday. In the loss to Houston on Wednesday, Washington scored 23 points and drained five 3-pointers.