A chance to fight for the East’s No. 8 seed in the 2021 NBA Playoffs will be at stake this Wednesday when the Indiana Pacers host the Charlotte Hornets in this play-in tournament matchup. Which team will book its ticket to the next phase of the play-in?
Catch this game live on Wednesday, May 19, at 6:30 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Indiana Pacers (34-38, 13-23 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Malcolm Brogdon (game-time decision)
- SG: Caris LeVert
- SF: Justin Holiday
- PF: Oshae Brissett
- C: Domantas Sabonis (questionable)
Pacers fans shouldn’t expect Myles Turner to return to action this Wednesday. The big man has already been ruled out against the Hornets, but in his place will be Oshae Brissett, who’s coming off a huge game. Brissett scored a career-high 31 points with 10 rebounds and five 3-pointers in Indiana’s 124-113 road win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday. Domantas Sabonis chipped in 25 points and 16 rebounds.
Even without Turner, the Pacers’ frontcourt should create problems for Charlotte’s defense. The outside shooting of Brissett and Sabonis could open things up in the lane for Indiana’s slashers like Caris LeVert and Justin Holiday. LeVert wasn’t able to finish the Toronto game because of a migraine, but he should be fine and ready to give Charlotte defenders headaches. Another thing worth monitoring on the part of Indiana is the status of Malcolm Brogdon, who seems to be on the verge of getting a green light to play.
Brogdon scored 25 points with seven rebounds and six assists when Indiana defeated the Hornets on the road back in January, 116-106. Indiana will enter the game with a 5-0 record against the spread in its last five games as the home team.
ROAD TEAM: Charlotte Hornets (33-39, 15-21 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: LaMelo Ball
- SG: Terry Rozier
- SF: Jalen McDaniels
- PF: Miles Bridges
- C: P.J. Washington
The Hornets will arrive in the Play-In Tournament searching for an end to their five-game losing skid. Charlotte failed to end the regular season on a high note, as it absorbed a 115-110 road loss to the Washington Wizards last Monday. Before that, though, they gave the playoff-bound New York Knicks a run for their money in a 118-109 overtime loss in Gotham Sunday.
The return of Miles Bridges has given the Hornets a boost on both ends of the floor. In his last two games, the former Michigan State Spartans star averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks. He’ll be teaming up with Devonte’ Graham, LaMelo Ball, and Terry Rozier in trying to help Charlotte get past Indiana, which the Hornets have defeated twice in three games back in the regular season. In the last meeting, Bridges fired 23 points to go with 10 rebounds coming off the bench, while Rozier had 15 points.
It’s Ball’s playmaking that will be crucial for the Hornets. Charlotte already has plenty of scorers, so Ball’s ability to locate his teammates on the break or in halfcourt sets will be key in breaking down Indiana’s defense that’s allowing 53.9 points in the paint per game.
The Pacers in a much better form right now than the limping Hornets, but don’t sleep on the “due” factor of Charlotte. Take the Hornets to cover +3.0.
These are two teams that love to run. I’m taking the Over 228.5.