CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When his MRI came back negative after taking a shot to his left knee earlier this week, Domantas Sabonis told Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren there was no way he was going to rest and let his teammates down.
"I don't like sitting out," Sabonis said. "I woke up today and I felt good. I did my shooting time and I was like, 'I can play.' I would have felt worse if I didn't play."
Sabonis powered through with his bruised knee, getting 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Indiana past the Charlotte Hornets 116-106 on Wednesday night. He came into the game listed as questionable but finished 9-of-10 from the field.
"The toughness that he showed to step foot in that game after taking that knee-to-knee [on Monday], that toughness goes a long way," Bjorkgren said.
Sabonis bruised his knee during a collision with Toronto's Kyle Lowry on Monday night and had an MRI on Tuesday that showed no damage.
He was on his game from the start, continuously making the right plays and finding teammates like McDermott on cuts to the basket and making the most of his shot selection in and out of the paint. Indiana had 34 assisted baskets.
"He's a willing passer. When the ball is in his hands, he's going to make the right play," Bjorkgren said of Sabonis. "He took 10 shots and had double-digit assists. He will continuously make the right play."
Said Brogdon: "Along with Joker [Nikola Jokic], he's one of the best passing bigs in the league."
The Pacers led by 36-19 after the first quarter.
"We're trying different lineups now," Hornets coach James Borrego said. "That was a new group out there tonight. It was a poor first quarter. It wasn't just the first group, it was the second group as well."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.