The Indiana Pacers fell to the third-place Atlanta Hawks 112-106 Friday night. Indiana struggled early, stormed back, but ultimately lost the game in the final minute or two. Paul George hit seven threes, looking like his old self, but the Pacers around him struggled to score.
The Pacers started flat and uninterested. They played little defense, took bad shots, gave up rebounds, and played zero transition defense. However, they somehow fought back from an early deficit to take a three-point lead heading into the second. With seven minutes left in the first, it looked like the Pacers were going to get blown out by 50. They responded well, and rode Paul George’s 12 first-quarter points to a three-point lead.
The Hawks won the second quarter, going into halftime only down one. It was a fairly uneventful quarter. Indiana made some small runs, Atlanta made some small runs. The Pacers, after two cold stretches in the first and second quarters, were lucky to be up one at halftime.
The third was back-and-forth until the final minute. Two straight Al Horford dunks (one a SC Top 10), and a Dennis Schroder three-pointer gave the Hawks some momentum and fired up the quiet crowd. The fourth started with the Pacers missing six straight shots. However, the story stayed the same. The Pacers fought back and were down only two after a wild Paul George three cut the lead. Then, Indiana faltered, failing to capitalize on opportunities through turnovers and missed shots. The Pacers, once again, gave away a game on the road in the fourth quarter. This game was easily winnable for Indiana. They blew a chance to close the gap in the Eastern Conference.
Paul George shot well, scoring 24 points and hitting seven threes. Myles Turner added 12 points and seven rebounds. Off the bench, Lavoy Allen and C.J. Miles both scored 13 points. On the other side of the ball, Al Horford and Paul Millsap played great. They gave Indiana fits with their pump fake threes and driving ability. They played tough defense, and gave Myles Turner, Jordan Hill, and Solomon Hill issues all night. They combined to score 45 points. Jeff Teague added 16 points and four assists.
The win for Atlanta gave the Hawks three straight wins. The loss drops the Pacers to 26-24. Atlanta will travel to Orlando to play the Magic Sunday night. The Pacers return home to host the Pistons on Saturday.
(26-24, 11-16 away)
(30-22, 17-8 home)
7:00 PM ET, February 5, 2016
Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Ind: P. George 31 Pts, 9 Reb, 6 Ast
Atl: A. Horford 21 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl