The NBA’s play-in tournament tipped off Tuesday night with a pair of Eastern Conference matchups. The first game of the night between the No. 9 Indiana Pacers and No. 10 Charlotte Hornets and it is safe to say things did not go as anyone expected as the home team came away with a 144-117 victory.
Behind a 16-point first quarter from Doug McDermott, the Pacers opened up a double-digit lead in the early going and the Hornets were never really able to make things interesting after that as Indiana won the first 36 minutes of the game by 30 points. With a mountain of a deficit facing them, the Hornets did their best to make things interesting in the final frame of the night but, in the end, they faced too far of an uphill climb to put any real pressure on the Pacers.
In the end, Domantas Sabonis led Indiana on the offensive end with 14 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists while Oshae Brisset and Doug McDermott chipped in 23 points and 21 points, respectively, to help keep Charlotte from mounting any sort of real comeback in the second half.
With the win, Indiana now keeps their postseason hopes alive and will face the loser of Tuesday night’s matchup between the No. 7 Boston Celtics and the No. 8 Washington Wizards for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.