EditorsNote: resend with minor changes, fix in third graph
Domantas Sabonis scored a career-high 30 points and Victor Oladipo finished with 27 as the Indiana Pacers held on for a 123-117 victory over the host Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.
Oladipo hit 12 of 15 shots and 3 of 4 from outside, but missed his only two free throws of the game as the Hornets made their final push. Sabonis made 13 of 21 shots and added eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Hornets were led by 22 points off the bench from Malik Monk, who was also instrumental in the late rally. Marvin Williams finished with 16 points and Dwight Howard had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds but All-Star Kemba Walker tallied just 12 points.
The Pacers held a 70-57 lead heading into halftime and extended it to 95-81 after three, but the Hornets made a spirited rally that ultimately fell short.
The Hornets first made a run in the third quarter, with Howard’s shot capping a 13-0 run and bringing the Hornets within 72-70 with 8:20 to play.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made it a two-point game again just under two minutes later with a floating shot and a free throw, cutting the Pacers lead to 75-73.
The Pacers responded by ending the quarter on a 20-8 run for a 14-point lead heading into the final frame.
Indiana kept the pressure on to start the fourth quarter, pushing the lead to as much as 19 points before another Charlotte rally brought the game within nine points.
A pair of free throws by Frank Kaminsky started the run, making it 115-98, and then Monk capped it with a short shot that made it 116-107 with 2:21 left to play.
One minute later, a pair of free throws by Willy Hernangomez made it 118-111. Oladipo missed a pair of free throws and Hernangomez, who finished with 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench, grabbed the rebound.
Monk was then fouled by Cory Joseph while shooting a 3-pointer and hit all three shots to make it a four-point game with just over a minute to play. A long three by Monk was off the mark and the Pacers got a couple of free throws from Glenn Robinson III to give themselves some breathing room as the Hornets ran out of gas.
The teams meet again on Tuesday in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Pacers are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference playoff race, two games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.
—Field Level Media