NBA

Pacers host Hornets, seek consistency

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers try to begin injecting some consistency into their season when they host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

It is the fourth and final regular season matchup with the home team winning all three games, including Charlotte's 100-88 victory earlier this month.

The Pacers (34-33) continued their up-and-down season with an 87-81 loss in New York on Tuesday. They led by double-figures late in the third quarter before the offense went to sleep for the final 15 minutes. The Pacers shot less than 25 percent from the field in the second half.

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"When you don't play the game the right way, you show up looking like that," Nate McMillan told pacers.com. "There's no excuse for the lack of execution in the second half."

"We didn't play the right way," Paul George told the Indianapolis Star. "We got out of our comfort zone. We have to play a lot more consistently."

Indiana alternated wins and losses in its last 10 games. The Pacers return home where they've had a lot more success, going 23-10. They've struggled mightily on the second night of back-to-backs, however, with a 3-11 record in such games.

Since defeating the Pacers on March 6, the Hornets lost three of their last four games. After starting the year 19-14, Charlotte is 10-24 since. They've really struggled on the road, going 11-23.

On the bright side for Charlotte, Kemba Walker had his way with the Pacers over the last few seasons. He scored 28 points in the win over Indiana last month. Last season, he averaged 26.7 points against the Pacers.

Charlotte lost 115-109 in Chicago on Monday. Six of its last seven losses were by seven points or fewer, including three in overtime.

"We play with no discipline defensively," coach Steve Clifford told the Charlotte Observer. "It's been the story too many times this year. We don't have great toughness."

The Hornets gave up 118 points per game in their last six losses, confirming Clifford's frustration.

Expect a lot of 3-point attempts in this one. The Hornets give up the most 3-point attempts per game in the NBA (31.4), while the Pacers allow the fifth-most (29.2).

This game has playoff implications as the Pacers are sixth in the Eastern Conference, two games ahead of ninth-place Chicago and Miami. Charlotte is 11th in the East, 3 1/2 games behind eighth-place Milwaukee, and in desperate need of a hot streak with 15 games to play.

"There's no quit in us," Kemba Walker told ESPN.com. "We're going to fight until the end."