The Indiana Pacers allowed a 14-point fourth-quarter lead to dissipate and dropped a 122-120 overtime decision to the Charlotte Hornets last month.
The Pacers have turned the page since that setback, winning 14 of their next 19 heading into the opener of a three-game homestand against the Hornets on Sunday.
Malcolm Brogdon collected 19 points and 12 assists and Domantas Sabonis recorded his 11th consecutive double-double and 21st of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds as Indiana posted a 110-100 victory over Atlanta on Friday.
All told, seven Pacers finished with double-digit scoring as the Pacers pushed a season-best eight games over .500, a stark contrast to when their loss to the Hornets on Nov. 5 dropped them below .500.
“Everybody plays with confidence,” Brogdon said. “I think really it goes out to coach (Nate) McMillan, giving us confidence, allowing everybody to play in the right spots, right positions.”
Doug McDermott certainly was in the right spot and the right position on Friday, as he provided a spark off the bench with 16 points. The 27-year-old highlighted his performance by following up a four-point play with a 3-pointer to jumpstart the fourth quarter.
“Guys have to trust in each other and support each other in situations like that. … The bench gave us some good minutes,” McMillan said.
T.J. Warren, who had 18 points against the Hawks, recorded a season-high 33 on 15-of-18 shooting and Brogdon chipped in 31 in the first meeting with the Hornets.
Devonte’ Graham scored a then-career-high 35 points in the first encounter with Indiana, however Charlotte was unable to follow up that victory and saw its three-game winning streak come to an end with the first of four straight losses.
The Hornets, however, have won three in a row for the second time this season following Friday’s 83-73 triumph in Chicago.
Graham pumped in 16 points versus the Bulls, helping Charlotte rebound after allowing its opponent a pair of pronounced runs.
“The term we keep using is resiliency,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “These guys, we just keep bouncing back. We don’t hang our heads. We just keep playing.”
Charlotte tightened up defensively and held Chicago to the lowest point total in a single game this season.
Center Bismack Biyombo scored eight of his 12 points in the first quarter. The 6-foot-8, 255-pound Biyombo finished with nine rebounds to highlight his team’s 60-45 edge on the boards.
“We had probably one of our best rebounding games,” the 27-year-old Biyombo said. “And defensively, we were playing attention to detail. So, overall, it was a great game for us.”
Biyombo also had a great game against the Pacers, underscoring his 15-point performance with a strong sequence to begin the fourth quarter as his team trailed by 14 points.
Biyombo scored from the interior before responding with his block on T.J. McConnell to ignite an eventual three-point play by Terry Rozier in transition.
Biyombo later had a steal and finished 6 of 7 from the floor, with Borrego citing his energy as a means for the team’s comeback.
–Field Level Media