Saturday, April 27th, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT at Philips Arena
Game Rewind: Pacers 69, Hawks 90, Game 3
Scott Agness | April 27, 2013
The Indiana Pacers had hoped to end their 11 game losing streak in Atlanta. They had hoped to take a 3-0 lead in the series, a feat that based on history, nearly guarantees a series win -- no team has ever lost a best-of-seven series when up 3-0. They knew the Hawks were going to bring their best effort, as Atlanta designated Saturday’s Game 3 as a must-win game.
Back at home, the Hawks backed up their words and outplayed the Pacers in all aspects of the game. They were more physical, quicker to the ball, made more shots, and took advantage of 22 Indiana turnovers. The Hawks gained control in the first quarter and crushed the Pacers, 90-69, at Philips Arena.
“It was just one of those nights where nobody had it going,” Frank Vogel said postgame.
To start the game, Hawks coach Larry Drew changed his strategy and elected to start center Johan Petro rather than Kyle Korver, which shifted Josh Smith to the small forward spot and on Paul George defensively. Early on, it looked as if the Pacers might have another uncontested win. Unlike the first two games where they trailed from the beginning, they went up 8-1 two and half minutes in. Then, after Drew called timeout, the script flipped and the Hawks played inspired basketball. The Pacers struggled taking care of the ball and made just two field goals the rest of the quarter. At the end of the first, the Hawks’ lead was 13.
Related: Pacers Lose Game Thoroughly »
After going in front 8-1, the Pacers made just three of their next 30 shots. During that stretch, the Hawks outscored the Pacers 42-10, including an 18-0 run. Poor shooting – 24 percent in the first half – wasn’t the only problem. They turned it over, got out-worked, and handled in the paint as the Hawks played with necessary urgency. Fittingly, Hawks guard Devin Harris took the ball the length of the floor for a layup just to close the first half, giving the home team a 54-30 halftime lead.
Out of the locker room, Roy Hibbert, who didn’t score in the first half or the last time the Pacers visited Atlanta, had the team’s first six points in the third. The Pacers tried to cut into the Hawks’ lead, but again, it just wasn’t their night. Atlanta’s lead swelled to 28 in the final minute of the third, but the Pacers would make one last push.
They went on a 10-2 run – six points coming from Tyler Hansbrough – which made it an 18-point game with 7:47 remaining. But that was as close as they’d get. Vogel sat George Hill, Lance Stephenson and Hibbert the entire quarter and pulled the final two starters, George and David West, with six minutes to play. The Pacers, who just weren’t themselves, accepted responsibility for poor execution and will try to return to form in Game 4 on Monday.
Inside the Numbers
David West scored 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Excluding him, the Pacers made just 15-of-67 shots (22.3 percent). Paul George finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and five turnovers. Playing hurt, the Pacers’ backcourt of George Hill and Lance Stephenson, combined for seven points on 2-of-15 shooting.
Al Horford recorded his 16th career playoff double-double: 26 points, 16 rebounds – both playoff career-highs. Josh Smith had 14 points, 12 coming in the first half. Jeff Teague added 13 points and five assists.
69 points, 22 field goals and 27.2 percent shooting were all season-lows for the Pacers. They had as many turnovers (22) and nearly as many made free throws (21) as field goals. The Hawks scored 24 points off of those 22 turnovers.
The Pacers’ 30 first half points tied for their lowest in franchise playoff history. It was the lowest total the Hawks had ever given up in the first half of a playoff game.
Pacers are just 1-11 this season on the road against playoff teams.
Atlanta outscored Indiana 50-30 in the paint and tallied 21 second chance points.
Through three quarters, Indiana’s bench had contributed just four points. For the game, they totaled 20.
“Clearly we had a difficult night offensively, mainly with our execution – screening, setting up our screens, passing the basketball on time and on target – and when we did execute, it was a tough shooting night.” – Frank Vogel
“I thought their disposition was the difference in the game, not the different lineup that they played.” – Frank Vogel
“Everything we did tonight was uncharacteristic.” – Paul George
“They played aggressive, they took away our airspace and they made nothing easy for us. We got to fight back." – Lance Stephenson on Atlanta
“I just tried to keep a body on him, knowing and understanding that he’s the focal point on the perimeter as far as what they do offensively. I just tried to stay engaged to him and tried to be elusive a little bit as far as the pin-downs and pick-and-rolls were concerned.” – Josh Smith on what he wanted to do on Paul George
Stat of the Game
The Pacers shot a season-low 27.2 percent from the floor. It was nearly their worst shooting performance in a playoff game, finishing just ahead of their 26.9 percent clip on April 30, 2005 vs. the Boston Celtics.
- Atlanta has won all three meetings vs. Indiana this season at Philips Arena.
- In the second quarter, David West was given a flagrant-1 foul and Jeff Teague a technical foul.
- Jeff Teague sustained a right elbow contusion in the second quarter but later returned.
- All 13 active Indiana players saw the floor.
- The game was a sellout (18,238).
Game 4 in Atlanta is on Monday at 7:30 PM EST.
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