Should the Pacers prefer the Hornets or the Wizards in the play-in round?

Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards
Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards – Mandatory Credit: Doug McSchooler-USA TODAY Sports /

Pacers-Hornets vs Pacers-Wizards: By the Numbers

Here’s what the numbers have to say about both matchups:

Offensive Rating

  • IND: 112.2 (15th)
  • CHO: 111.0 (22nd)
  • WAS: 111.2 (18th)

Surprisingly, the Pacers have the highest-rated offense among the three. The Wizards are second at 18th in the league while the Hornets are last and rank 22nd in the same department.

Make no mistake, though. Despite their rather paltry offensive ratings, Washington boasts a two-headed monster in Bradley Beal, the association’s second-leading scorer and Russell Westbrook, basketball’s king of triple-doubles while Charlotte delivers a balanced attack led by Gordon Hayward, Rookie of the Year favorite LaMelo Ball and the much-improved Terry Rozier.

The Hornets have had a pleasant season despite their losing record and are electric and fun on offense, but their needle movers are nowhere near the level of the Wizards’ decorated main cogs. At least on offense, the Pacers will be better off facing the former.

VERDICT: Charlotte

Defensive Rating

  • IND: 112.4 (16th)
  • CHO: 112.8 (19th)
  • WAS: 113.1 (20th)

Once again, Indiana leads the troika in defensive rating, coming in at 16th. Charlotte and Washington are virtually the same at 19th and 20th, respectively.

The Hornets haven’t deployed a great defensive squad since the exit of Steve Clifford. Ditto for the Wizards who are largely predicated on Beal and Westbrook’s individual heroics. Both of these teams will certainly let their opponents bleed points and mutually have a dearth of reliable interior defenders. Look for Domantas Sabonis to have his way against both squads, the same with the emerging Caris LeVert. Malcolm Brogdon? If he plays.


Head-to-Head Matchups

  • CHO: Won series vs IND, 2-1 (+3.3)
  • WAS: Won series vs IND, 3-0 (+7.4)

The Pacers struggled against both teams in their head-to-head matchups, but this will be quick. The Wizards have had their way against the Navy and Gold this season, with their most notable win coming in a 154-point explosion on May 3. For the record, Washington averages 139.7 points against Indiana, easily the most they tally against a single team in the campaign.

As good as the Hornets have been against the Pacers, they lost by double-digits once to Indiana and has a substantially lesser point differential in the season series.

VERDICT: Charlotte