It is an exciting time for Hornets fans, as they have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. However, while the Buzz City faithful are looking to watch the playoffs this 2021, the Pacers are hoping to redeem themselves after getting swept in the first round last season. These two teams will have quite the battle, with the loser going home and the winner moving on to the next play-in game.
Here are three reasons why the Hornets will beat the Pacers in the play-in game.
3. Pacers injuries
While it would be a close battle even if the Pacers were fully healthy, it makes it easier for the Hornets with key Indiana players out.
TJ Warren suffered a season-ending injury back in March, while Myles Turner is also out indefinitely. A numerous number of players are also dealing with nagging injuries and are questionable for the game. Although you hate to see injuries, the Hornets should be able to take advantage of the weakened depth of the Pacers.
2. Veteran playoff experience
The Hornets have some veterans with playoff experience that will be key for the play-in game.
Guard Terry Rozier will be a crucial player for the Hornets, as he had deep playoff runs back when he was with the Boston Celtics and gained valuable experience during those runs. Rozier has shown the ability to step up in these games, and Charlotte will need him to do so if they are going to come out on top.
1. LaMelo Ball
It’s no secret that LaMelo Ball is a special player and has the talent to become great, but he needs to have a big game for the Hornets to win.
Whether it’s his scoring, rebounding or passing, Ball is crucial for his team to win. He has shown his ability to take over games throughout the course of his rookie season, but this will be the first of many big games in his career. Players like Ball are expected to perform to the best of their abilities in the clutch, and he has a chance to prove that in this game.
The Hornets have a great shot at winning this game against the Pacers, thanks to their veterans and a rising young core led by LaMelo. They will be without forwards Gordon Hayward and Cody Martin, but they are not as banged up as the Pacers.
It could very well end up as a close game, but expect the Hornets to ultimately come out on top.
Whatever way the play-in game turns out for the Hornets, they should be happy about their future.