Season high for ‘Buddy’

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Hield explodes for 31 points but Pacers fall to Knicks

Simba FrenchSend an emailJanuary 13, 2023 226 3 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield (24) goes to the basket past New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, at Madison Square Garden in New York. AP

Bahamian professional basketball player with the Indiana Pacers Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield scored a season and team-high 31 points on Wednesday night, but his squad dropped a 119-113 loss to the New York Knicks at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.

Hield played 32 minutes in this contest and his efficient 13-point fourth quarter outburst was not enough as the Pacers, who were down by 14 at the beginning of the fourth, kept chipping away at the lead but ended up falling by six. The loss drops the Pacers to a 23-19 win/loss record and seventh in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Knicks moved up one spot ahead of the Pacers. They have an identical record, but the Knicks lead the season series 2-0 with two more to play.

Grand Bahama native Hield was scorching hot from beyond the three-point arc in the game as he made seven three-point shots, tying a season-high for made three-point shots. He brought his total to 23 made shots from deep in the first five games this month. Overall, he went 11-for-20 from the field, shooting 55 percent, and 7-for-15 from deep, 46.7 percent from that distance. He grabbed eight rebounds.

His career-high in points is 42.

After the Knicks went up 95-81 at the end of the third quarter, the Pacers had to dig down deep to make a comeback. The sixth-year player led that charge. He pulled up and made a three-point shot at the 3:10 mark to pull the Pacers within two points, 105-103, but the Knicks controlled the tempo the rest of the way.

After the Knicks’ lead was stretched to seven points with 1:34 left in the game, 112-105, Hield made a three-pointer on their next offensive possession, at the 1:22 mark, while being fouled, to set up a chance for a four-point play. He completed the four-point play and the Knicks led 112-109 at that point. Hield had a chance to tie it up with 49.1 seconds left in the game but he missed a three-point shot.

The Knicks went up 115-109 before Hield made a layup with 21.1 seconds left in the game. The Knicks held on for the victory. The Pacers never led in this game and lost 

starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton to a knee injury in the third quarter.

The Pacers got hit early in the game as the Knicks went up 37-21 at the end of the first quarter. As a team, the Knicks shot better from deep as they went 15-for-42 (35.7 percent) while the Pacers went 12-for-39 (30.8 percent).

It has been a good month for Hield offensively as he is averaging 21.2 points in five games – above his season average of 18.3 points per game. He is even collecting rebounds at a higher rate in January – 5.8 this month compared to his season average of 4.9 rebounds per game. He is shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from deep in January.

Hield and the Pacers return to action at 7 o’clock this evening when they host the Atlanta Hawks at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bahamian DeAndre Ayton, the starting center of the Phoenix Suns, missed his second straight game with a left ankle sprain on Wednesday. The Suns got blown out, 126-97, by the Denver Nuggets in that game. It was on the back end of back-to-back games for the Suns. In the first game, the night before, the Suns won 125-113 over the Golden State Warriors.

After the loss to the Nuggets, the Suns sport a 21-22 record on the season and are seventh in the Western Conference of the NBA. They are 2-8 in their last 10 games.

Ayton could return to the court when the Suns play the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, tonight. That game gets underway at 8 o’ clock.

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