Win streaks on the line for Hornets, Pacers in Indy
Two teams playing the second night of back-to-backs hope to keep a good thing going when the Charlotte Hornets visit the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night in Indianapolis.
The Hornets took advantage of the only home dates they will play in an 11-game stretch when they swept Sacramento and Phoenix over the past three days.
Charlotte got seven or more points from 10 different players in a 135-115 romp over the Suns on Saturday afternoon, running their winning streak to three games, including a 108-93 shocker at San Antonio on Monday in their most recent road contest.
The Charlotte bench contributed 56 points to the win over Phoenix, allowing no Hornets starter to play more than 33 minutes in the type of restful performance ideal for the first half of a back-to-back.
Reserves Tony Parker (14 points), Miles Bridges (10) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (10) all scored in double figures in the win, continuing a recent stretch in which they have combined with Malik Monk (7) and Willy Hernangomez (9) to provide different-making play off the Charlotte bench.
"They're gaining confidence through this season," Parker said recently of the Charlotte bench corps. "It's about that time now of the (season). We have to get a winning streak going. The teams behind us are playing well, and now it's our turn to play better."
The double-figure efforts were the 19th of the season for Parker and 14th for Kidd-Gilchrist.
Monk was among three Hornets reserves who scored 11 or more points when Charlotte beat Indiana 127-109 at home in November. The Charlotte backups outscored their Indiana counterparts 55-45 on that night.
Monk also went for 17 points when the Hornets won 119-93 at Indiana in their most recent visit on the final day of the 2018 regular season.
The Pacers don't figure to be at a fatigue disadvantage Sunday as they, too, had a relatively easy time in disposing of Saturday's opponent, the Dallas Mavericks, 111-99.
Indiana never led by fewer than eight points through the second half and benefitted from the ejection of Mavericks rookie standout Luka Doncic, who received two technical fouls.
The one-sidedness of the game allowed four Indiana reserves to put in 16 or more minutes of action while no Pacers starter was extended past 33 minutes.
It was the type of dominant performance Indiana star Victor Oladipo had sought after the Pacers were crushed by the 76ers two nights earlier.
"Their big dogs were big," he said of the 76ers following the loss. "It should be a wake-up call for us."
The win was the Pacers' 30th of the year, making them the sixth in the NBA to reach the mark this season. They didn't pick up their 30th win last season until Feb. 3.
Indiana has won 17 of its last 22 games.
Oladipo was out of action with a sore knee when the Pacers made their earlier trip to Charlotte. He sat out 11 straight games, with Indiana going just 7-4.
He also didn't play in Charlotte's season-ending win at Indiana last April, taking the night off to rest up for the upcoming playoffs.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 20, 2019