Charlotte Hornets take charge early, hold on late to beat Indiana Pacers

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Terry Rozier scored a season-high 35 points, LaMelo Ball added 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Indiana Pacers 116-108 on Wednesday night.

Ball also had nine assists, falling just short of his third triple-double this season and the fourth of his career. The Hornets won their third straight overall and fifth in a row in the series, including all three matchups this season.

Caris LeVert scored 27 points and Domantas Sabonis posted his 25th double-double this season with 15 points and 18 rebounds. Sabonis also had seven assists, but Indiana lost for the fifth time in seven games.

Charlotte never trailed after taking control with an early 15-3 run. The Hornets led by 18 during the first half and kept the Pacers at arm's length most of the night.

Though Indiana cut the halftime deficit to 71-57 and closed to 73-63 with a quick flurry to open the third quarrter, the Pacers didn't get closer than 10 until Kelan Martin and Oshae Brissett made 3-pointerss to pull Indiana within 87-82 in the final minute of the third.

The Pacers got as close four several times in the fourth quarter but never made it a one-possession game. Rozier helped the Hornets close it out from the free-throw line.


Hornets: Rozier made five 3s and has at least four in a career-high five straight games. ... Gordon Hayward scored 18 points in his hometown. ... Jalen McDaniels finished with 12 points, a career-best fifth straight double-digit game. ... Charlotte shot 59.1% from the field in the first half, 51.8% for the game. It is 10-0 when making at least 50%. ... The Hornets' three wins against Indiana this season have come by a total of 12 points.

Pacers: Keifer Sykes, a 27-year-old rookie out of Green Bay, made his NBA debut in the first quarter. He did not score. ... Myles Turner had 14 points and four blocks. ... Brissett also scored 14 points. ... LeVert was 4 of 12 on 3s, moving within one of No. 400 in his career. ... Indiana played without leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon for the third straight game because of a sore right Achilles tendon. Brogdon averages 19.0 points.


The Pacers also were without Jeremy Lamb after he tested positive for COVID-19 and assistant coach Lloyd Pierce, who entered the health and safety protocols following an inconclusive test.

It's just another virus flurry for the Pacers, who lost coach Rick Carlisle for four games after a positive test this month and Justin Holiday for two weeks. Two members of Carlisle's staff, Jenny Boucek and Zach Chu, also have missed time.

Charlotte was missing three players because of COVID-19 — Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington and Scottie Lewis.


Hornets: Take a three-day break before hosting Phoenix on Sunday.

Pacers: Host Chicago in a rare afternoon game New Year's Eve.


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The Associated Press

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