5QT: Kemba deserves better than Hornets; Pacers roll again

Kemba Walker (right) of the Hornets steals the basketball from Thaddeus Young of the Pacers during first-half action Sunday night.

INDIANAPOLIS — Five quick takes after the Pacers soundly took care of the Hornets from the opening tip to the final buzzer Sunday night, 120-95.

1. Kemba Walker shouldn’t re-sign in Charlotte unless he wants to have a first-round playoff exit, at best, every season. He’s not quite a superstar, but is definitely a perennial All-Star-caliber player. The problem is, it’s not enough to be relevant in the Big-3 era. Walker is better suited as the Robin, than the Batman.

2. The Pacers play some of the best defense in the NBA. They play as a team, which results in many fast-break opportunities because of blocks, deflections and steals. They hustle back on defense the second the opponent’s offense leaks out. Creating deflections and giving the ultimate effort is an Indiana trademark.

3. The Hornets (22-24) are too talented to be this mediocre. Charlotte is a solid basketball team with high-level talent. Therefore, it shouldn’t be fighting to stay above water in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets’ former coach, Steve Clifford, is doing better with the Orlando Magic, considering the team’s expectations in comparison to Charlotte last year. Something is off in Charlotte. Team chemistry is a real thing. The Pacers have it… the Hornets don’t.

4. Bojan Bogdanovic is underrated. The Pacers are getting an outstanding 16 points a night from him, while he’s also shooting 43 percent from 3-point range. Every team in the NBA could use him. He’s been huge for this Pacers team. Quietly.

5. The Pacers (31-15)  have one of the elite homecourt environments in the NBA and they proved it yet again. They picked up their 17th home win in 23 games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. On a night where the roads were snowy and the temperatures were frigid, not to mention, the NFL’s Championship Sunday, the Hoosier State showed up to back their guys. If the Pacers get a top-four seed in the East, they will 100 percent make the second round of the playoffs.