THE FACTS: Rarely has such a bad shot yielded better results. With the ball, a four-point lead and 34 seconds left, Gerald Green did absolutely the wrong thing, launching a quick 3-point shot. But to the everlasting relief of the Indiana Pacers, the shot went in to help preserve a wild 100-94 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Green scored 19 to lead the Pacers (44-27), who were without three injured starters. Indiana built a 28-point lead in the third quarter and then watched it reduced all the way to four by Atlanta's reserves in a wretched fourth-quarter performance that included 10 turnovers and 4-for-16 shooting. Josh Smith led the Hawks (39-32) with 20 points.
QUOTABLE: "It's not a bad shot if it goes in."
-- Indiana coach Frank Vogel on Green's late 3-pointer
THE STAT: With Jeff Pendergraph and Orlando Johnson combining for 27 points on 11-for-14 shooting, the Pacers had a 31-12 advantage in bench points in the first half. Pendergraph and Johnson combined for two points on 1-for-8 shooting in the second as Atlanta had a 36-2 advantage.
TURNING POINT: Indiana used two big runs that appeared to blow it wide open, a 25-7 burst in the second quarter sparked by Pendergraph and Johnson (who combined for 20 of the points) to open a 58-38 lead. An 18-5 burst in the third quarter pushed Indiana's lead to 79-51 and Hawks coach Larry Drew cleared his bench to start the fourth quarter, down by 22. But Indiana collapsed and the Hawks pounced. The Pacers shot 0-for-6 and committed five turnovers in a six-minute span in which the Hawks put together a 14-2 run to cut it 89-79. A steal and dunk by Green made it 94-81 with 2:59 remaining, but Atlanta wasn't done, scoring the next nine to close to 94-90 with 1:07 remaining. After the Hawks got a stop, they had the chance to cut it to two but D.J. Augustin stole the ball from John Jenkins and fed Green, who immediately fired up what turned out to be the decisive shot.
QUOTABLE II: "The disappointing thing was that we just lost our composure. We didn't handle it the right way. It just took us out of our game but I was proud of our bench. It got us down to four points at one point in the game."
HOT: Roy Hibbert (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Tyler Hansbrough (12 points, 11 boards) both had double-doubles for the Pacers. ... Johnson's 15 points were a career high. ... Smith shot 7-for-10 for the Hawks but did not play in the fourth quarter. ... Shelvin Mack had 10 points and four assists in 19 minutes off the Atlanta bench.
NOT: Augustin shot 1-for-6 and committed six turnovers. ... Indiana's Ian Mahinmi missed all four of his shots, did not score and pulled a single rebound in 10 minutes off the bench. ... Johan Petro got his fourth start of the season at center for the Hawks but missed all four of his shots.
QUOTABLE III: "They put five guys in that hadn't played all night and brought great energy. That's what you do when you're down 22, you try to change the game."
NOTABLE: The Pacers' magic number for clinching their first Central Division title in 10 years is down to seven. ... Hansbrough had his fourth double-double in five games and fifth in six starts. ... Indiana committed 21 turnovers, breaching 20 for the 10th time. ... Kyle Korver and Johnson converted back-to-back four-point plays late in the first quarter, a rarity. ... Pendergraph hadn't attempted a 3-pointer in his first two NBA seasons but has made two in his last four games, including one in the second quarter. ... Pendergraph and Smith were hit with double technical fouls for trash-talking late in the first half. ... Indiana was missing three starters. Point guard George Hill (strained left groin) and shooting guard Lance Stephenson (sore right hip flexor) joined David West (sprained lower back) in street clothes. Vogel said there's "a good chance" both Hill and Stephenson will play Wednesday when the Pacers open a four-game road trip in Houston. ... West, who has missed five in a row, may also return during the road trip but his status for the Houston game remains in doubt. ... Danny Granger, who missed his 11th game in a row and 66th of the season with left knee tendinosis, will practice Tuesday with an eye on returning during the trip. ... Atlanta was without shooting guard Devin Harris (sore left foot), so former Pacer Dahntay Jones started at shooting guard, scoring three points.
UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Wednesday @ Houston, Thursday @ Dallas, Saturday @ Phoenix. For the Hawks, Wednesday @ Toronto, Friday @ Boston, Saturday vs. Cleveland.