Pacers used rare practice to reset and refocus, then torched the Hornets in 31-point win
The Pacers ended a four-game slide by shooting 61%, winning the bench minutes and keeping the Hornets to 113 points in a blowout win.
The Pacers had a refreshed sense of focus leading into Wednesday’s home game against the Charlotte Hornets. Having lost a season-worst four games in a row, an uptick in play, especially on defense, was needed to get the wheels back on the track.
And, the urgency is felt with many winnable games to close out 2023 just before they hit another hellacious stretch in their schedule.
Instead of taking the day off on Tuesday after having played seven games in 12 days, the Pacers returned to their gym for their first practice there in three weeks (since Nov. 29).
And afterward, for the second time this season, head coach Rick Carlisle essentially issued a public warning to the players: start defending and doing all the little things or you’re not playing.
"We're looking much more closely at the defensive end,” he told reporters after practice. “... There's every bit of evidence in the world that a shakeup would be something that's logical."
That possibility excited fans I heard from on social media. Would Buddy Hield and Obi Toppin be replaced in the starting lineup? More minutes for young players? Or a more defensive-minded lineup?
Turns out, there wasn’t much. They stuck with the usual starting five that has been a productive unit. Chemistry and continuity cannot be overstated. However, I don’t think this coaching staff would hesitate to make more changes if necessary.