Indiana Pacers: 3 takeaways from season opener against Charlotte

Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Despite mounting a 23-point lead, the Indiana Pacers fell victims to the Charlotte Hornets on the road, dropping their season opener 123-122 despite great performances from Domantas Sabonis, Chris Duarte and Malcolm Brogdon.

The Pacers seemingly had complete control of the game despite missing key players until midway in the third quarter, where the Hornets ignited a furious rally to take control of the game in the fourth frame, leading by as much as 10 at the early junctures of the final period.

While Indiana recovered and took back the lead with 12.4 second left, Charlotte sunk two crucial free throws and grasped the win after Sabonis missed a turnaround hook shot to end the game, giving the Pacers their first loss of the season.

Sabonis tallied 33 points and 15 rebounds in a losing effort, while rookie Chris Duarte, who started in place of the injured Caris LeVert, finished with 27 markers on six three-point makes. Brogdon, despite an off shooting night, managed to rack up a double-double of his own with 28 points and 11 assists. On the other hand, LaMelo Ball paced the Hornets with 31 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists while running mate Gordon Hayward ended the game with 27.

While the game ultimately ended in Charlotte’s favor, some positive things (and some not so much) can be extracted from the Indiana Pacers’ performance to begin their campaign. Here are three observations from their season opener against the Hornets.