Sabonis scores career-high 30, Pacers beat Hornets 123-117
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Domantas Sabonis scored a career-high 30 points, Victor Oladipo had 27 points on 12-of-15 shooting and the Indiana Pacers beat the Charlotte Hornets 123-117 on Sunday to keep alive their slim hopes of winning the Central Division title.
Lance Stephenson, a former Hornet, had 10 rebounds, 10 assists and eight points for the Pacers, who have won seven of their last nine games.
Rookie Malik Monk, coming off a career-high 26-point effort, led the Hornets with 22 points in their final home game of the season.
For Indiana (48-33) to win the Central and earn home-court advantage for the first round of the NBA playoffs, it needs to beat Charlotte on Tuesday night and have the Cleveland Cavaliers (49-31) lose their final two games against the New York Knicks. The Pacers have the tiebreaker advantage over the Cavaliers after taking three of four in the season series, including a 124-107 win in November.
The Pacers jumped out to a 70-57 halftime lead after shooting 67 percent from the field, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
Charlotte rallied in the third quarter, but the Pacers took over and quickly built a 20-point lead even with Oladipo on the bench with four fouls.
Indiana shot 54 percent from the field for the game.
Pacers: Stephenson wore gold-colored shoes. … Glenn Robinson III and Cory Joseph each had 13 points as the Pacers’ reserves outscored the Hornets’ backups, 72-60. The Pacers finished the regular season with a 21-20 record on the road.
Hornets: Monk has scored in double digits in nine of his last 12 games. … Kemba Walker didn’t score until there was 5 minutes left in the second quarter and finished with 12 points. … The Hornets honored play-by-play announcer Steve Martin, who is retiring after 30 seasons with the franchise.
Pacers: Host Hornets on Tuesday.
Hornets: Visit Pacers on Tuesday.