Notebook: Pacers 81, Hawks 73

Posted May 3, 2013 11:46 PM

Matt Winkeljohn, for

THE FACTS: George Hill, David West and the Pacers finally found their way in Atlanta Friday, when they each scored 21 points and Atlanta could not overcome 16 straight missed shots as Indiana broke a 13-game losing streak in Philips Arena with a 81-73 win.

Roy Hibbert added a double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) and the Pacers won the series 4-2 to earn a semifinals matchup with the Knicks.

This game was not like the first two in Atlanta, won by the Hawks. It was a lot like Game 5 in Indiana, a 106-83 Pacers win.

In each game, the Hawks shot 33.3 percent. Friday, the Pacers had a 53-35 rebounding edge. In Game 5, the edge was 51-28.

Indiana's NBA-best defense was in peak form early, and even when the Hawks found open shots they often missed them. They missed their last 13 shots of the second quarter (1-for-15 overall) and scored a franchise record-low nine points in the period to trail 37-29.

The Pacers shot just 36.6 percent themselves in the first half, but that looked fantastic to the Hawks' 23.7 percent (9-for-38).

Then, Atlanta missed its first three shots of the third quarter, scored on a goaltending call against Hibbert, and missed four consecutive shots as Indiana expanded its lead to 52-33 on Hibbert's short shot with 7:31 in the period.

The Hawks trailed 65-50 after three quarters, but made a run in the fourth quarter. A 23-9 spurt drew the home team within 76-73 on Al Horford's slam with 2:53 remaining in the game.

Horford led the Hawks with 15 points, but all other Atlantans were 20-for-66 (30.3 percent). Atlanta did not score after his tally as they missed three 3-pointers and two long jumpers down the stretch without grabbing a single offensive rebound in the final quarter.

That was a nice summary of the final two games, won by the Pacers.

Hibbert and Lance Stephenson each had 11 rebounds Friday, and every Indiana started grabbed at least seven.

Josh Smith scored 14 points in each of the last two games, but was 5-for-16 in both games.

Although Indiana's Paul George scored just four points on 2-for-10 shooting after averaging 21.6 ppg in the first five games, his teammates picked up the slack. He focused on defending Smith and Kyle Korver (12 points on 3-for-11 shooting, 0-for-7 on 3-pointers).

Hill, who averaged 7.5 points on 5-for-23 shooting in the first two games in Atlanta, was 7-for-14 and 2-for-5 on 3-balls. West added eight rebounds to his 21 points.

QUOTABLE: "We finally got the monkey off our back in this building. We were more physical, and made them take tough shots. We're happy, but we have to get our hard harts back on, as we have another game in less than 48 hours."
-- George Hill

THE STATS: +18, and 4. The Pacers were plus 18 in rebounding (53-35, as Atlanta had just three offensive rebounds and four second-chance points), and Atlanta had just four fast-break points -- none in the first three quarters. Indiana did a fantastic job getting back.

QUOTABLE II: "We needed to guard the 3, we needed to guard them on the break, and we needed to limit them to one shot and this was our best game in the series in doing those three things."
-- Pacers coach Frank Vogel

TURNING POINT: When the Hawks started their scoring drought, they trailed just 23-22 after Korver made a 16-foot jumper with 10:35 left in the second quarter. They didn't get the ball inside.

Here were the distances of the 13 straight missed shots to close the period: 23, 18, 16, 25, 22, 26, 7, 16, 21, 20, 24, 4, 26. Eleven of the 13 were from 16 feet or further; eight were from 20 feet or further.

QUOTABLE III: "I think the story of this game was our inability to make a shot. As bad as it was in the first half, we were still within striking distance . . . You have to give Indiana credit. They're really good defensively. They're really big. They put you in a lot of tough situations because their bigs do a phenomenal job in deep post position."
-- Hawks coach Larry Drew

HOT: George didn't score much Friday (four points), but still led all players in series scoring (18.7), rebounding (9.5), tied Teague for assist honors (5.0 ppg) and tied Josh Smith for most steals (11). . . . West was a big factor in the last two games of the series with 21 points on 9-for-21 shooting Friday, and 24 points on 11-for-16 shooting Wednesday in Game 5. He also had four of Indiana's nine blocked shots. . . .

NOT: Atlanta was 3-for-19 on treys Friday and 3-for-14 Wednesday. The Hawks were 6-for-31 in the last two games (19.4 percent), and 31-for-81 (38.3 percent) before that. Atlanta averaged 78 points in the last two games, and 95 before that.

Jeff Teague, a pending restricted free agent, shot 3-for-12 after shooting 3-for-16 in Game 5. . . . Smith, a pending unrestricted free agent who may have played his last game for the Hawks, not only struggled to 5-for-14 shooting in each of the past two games, but settled largely for jumpers. He also had four turnovers in Friday's disastrous second quarter.

For the first time in 84 games, Korver did not make a 3-point shots although the last six games do not count for NBA record-keeping purposes because they were postseason games. He missed all seven long balls Friday, and was 1-for-3 Wednesday. . . .

QUOTABLE IV: "For whatever reason, we weren't executing on the fast break. I think we had some deflating plays on the break that affected us ... that was the difference from Games 3 and 4. We were able to execute and score in the open court, and that opened up our offense."
-- Al Horford

IN THE ARENA: Horford's father, Tito, was in the house. He played for the Bucks (1988-'90) and Washington Bullets ('93-'94). ... Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, and rapper Flo-Rida were at the game as well.

NOTABLE: Smith moved into second place in franchise history in postseason games played (52).

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Sunday at New York (Game 1). For the Hawks, gone fishin'.