Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers at Atlanta
SCOUTING THE PACERS: The Pacers (14-19) blew a 15-point third-quarter lead Friday and shot only 1 of 15 in the fourth quarter in a 90-87 loss to San Antonio. The one field goal was the fewest they've had in a quarter in the last 19 years. Indiana has lost five of six, with the only win in that stretch coming at home Dec. 31 against Eastern Conference-worst Washington, which is winless on the road. In an attempt to shakeup the rotation, O'Brien gave Tyler Hansbrough his first start of the season and only the second of his career. The change helped the Pacers compete with one of the top teams in the NBA, as Hansbrough set career highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds. In dropping eight straight to the Hawks, the Pacers have lost to the Hawks by an average of 10.1 points, and have dropped nine of the last 10 in Atlanta.
SCOUTING THE HAWKS: The Hawks have been rolling since Joe Johnson returned to the lineup. They'll have a prime opportunity to continue their win streak against a team they've dominated in recent seasons.Atlanta seeks its fourth consecutive victory overall and ninth straight against the Pacers. Johnson missed nine games from Dec. 1-16 due to an operation on his right elbow expected to keep him out 4-6 weeks. However, Johnson returned almost two weeks earlier than expected and has averaged 20.5 points since Dec. 17. Much like Johnson, who is averaging 28.7 over his last three games, the Hawks (24-14) seem to be hitting their stride. Atlanta has won eight of 11 since Johnson came back and won its third straight Wednesday, 110-87 against Utah. Johnson hit five 3-pointers and finished with 28 points, and the Hawks shot 14 of 25 from 3-point range. It was the most 3s Atlanta hit since making 15 on Nov. 14, 2008, in a loss to New Jersey. Jamal Crawford added 26 points off the bench, following up his 31-point effort Tuesday against Sacramento. He's averaging 26.8 points and shooting 54.0 percent over his last four. Smith averages 15.8 points on the season, but he eclipsed that average in both wins against the Pacers. He scored 25 at Indiana on Nov. 16, then netted 21 on Dec. 11.
INJURY REPORT: The Pacers are healthy. For the Hawks, Marvin Williams (back contusion) is day-to-day.
BROADCAST INFO: This game will not be televised locally. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee handling the sideline and pre-game duties.
CHAT: There will not be a live chat tonight.