Pacers held Hornets under 100, didn't need Haliburton to close in wire-to-wire road win
The Pacers scored the first nine points and never trailed in a 115-99 win in Charlotte, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Pascal Siakam led them with 25-8-9.
Tyrese Haliburton was back in the starting lineup Sunday at Charlotte, and this time he wasn’t needed to close the game. The Pacers led the entire way, and by as many as 24 points, in a 115-99 win at Charlotte — where wins haven’t come easily for this team in recent history.
One game after a revealing postgame interview where Haliburton made clear “nobody is more frustrated than I am,” about his current injury situation and minutes restriction (22), he finished with 17 points and four assists in 20 minutes and 17 seconds. Just enough to qualify as a game played while also being able to take it easy on his left hamstring strain that is like a dark cloud over his head.
Haliburton appeared to be in a better place throughout this game, laughing and smiling on the court. He even had some fun (unless you’re the medical staff) midway through the third quarter after Pascal Siakam threw it ahead to him for a transition dunk. He took off with his left (bad) leg, threw it down and then clutched the hamstring in a playful manner.
“I wasn’t trying to do that (scare fans), but then T.J. (McConnell) did it to me so then I did it to T.J,” he said afterward. “But I would never joke with the fans like that, but I guess I did. That’s my fault. I’m good.”
The Pacers (28-23) came into this one having lost 8 of their last 12 games, including three in a row, and left with their 12th road win of the season; they’re now one away from getting back to .500 in road games (12-13).
“We had a good start to the game at both ends,” head coach Rick Carlisle said postgame. “The 9-0 start is a great way to start on the road.
“They’re starting to get real synergy.”