‘Buddy’ Hield and Pacers rout Kai, Hornets 122-97

Buddy Hield and Kai Jones in action on Wednesday. (AP Photos/Jacob Kupferman)

Buddy Hield and Kai Jones in action on Wednesday. (AP Photos/Jacob Kupferman)

As of Thursday, October 6, 2022


#Tribune Sports Reporter


#CHAVANO “Buddy” Hield and Kai Jones went head-to-head as the NBA preseason continued last night.

#Hield and his Indiana Pacers made their preseason debut with a 122-97 win over Jones and the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

#Hield finished with seven points on 3-8 shooting, 1-4 from three-point range. He also added five rebounds, three steals and two assists in 20 minutes. He played 17 of his 20 minutes in the first half and finished with five points on 2-6 shooting as the Pacers took an early 59-43 lead at the half.

#Each of the Pacers’ starters played between 18-22 minutes and 16 players on the roster received playing time in the rout.

#For the second consecutive game, Jones played sparingly late in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach and tallied just eight minutes.

#In last Sunday’s preseason debut against the Boston Celtics, Jones finished with five points, five rebounds and a blocked shot in just nine minutes of the Hornets’ 134-93 loss at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

#The Hornets will close out the preseason with a rematch against the Celtics at the Spectrum Center on October 7. The Pacers will play their second preseason game on October 7 on the road against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York and will conclude their preseason schedule with a rematch when they host the Knicks at Gainbridge Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana.

#Hield continues to be the focus of trade rumours but has a role on this current Pacers roster as a veteran leader, one of just two players returning to the roster at least 29-years-old.

#His game high three steals in last night’s game was indicative of the improved effort on the defensive end.

#“Buddy is one of the very best at what he does – shoot the ball,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “And Buddy showed us in the second half of the season that he is a very capable defender and very capable of being that good defender within a defensive system.”

#In addition to his improved scoring numbers, Hield also reached his career high of nine assists on three separate occasions during his time in Indiana. He credited Carlisle’s free flowing offence.

#Hield’s 4.8 assists per game with the Pacers was an increase from 1.9 per game with the Kings.

#“Rick does a good job just letting me be myself and just letting me play freely and do random things but in accordance with his offence and control in the system. As a player, you want to be free and be myself but in the structure of his offence,” he said.

#“Rick’s offence allowed me to expand a little bit more. I was able to do more with the ball, be creative and play freely.”

#Both Hield and Jones competed alongside each other at the national team level for the first time this past summer when The Bahamas competed in the lastest window of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifiers.

#Jones averaged 18 points and eight rebounds per game in contests against Venezuela and Argentina while Hield averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists against the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Argentina.


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