Rewind: Pacers vs. Hawks 120111
Jan. 11, 2012 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 96, Hawks 84
By Conrad Brunner
So much for the shooting slump.
Danny Granger broke out in a big way Wednesday, scoring a season-high 24 in 27 minutes including 12 in the third quarter when the Pacers took control of the game on their way to a 96-84 rout of the visiting Hawks Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Granger entered the game averaging 14.9 points and shooting .307 from the field, the lowest percentage in the league, but hit 9-of-16, including 3-of-5 from the 3-point line, as the Pacers improved to 7-3 overall and remained unbeaten (4-0) at home.
Atlanta had a three-game win streak snapped and dropped to 7-4.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger had not made half his shots in any game this season and had averaged just 12.0 points on .250 shooting in his previous five games but put all that behind him with his best performance of the season. Roy Hibbert had his sixth double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, adding four assists and four blocks. David West scored 12 and Lance Stephenson came off the bench to score a career-high 12 points with five rebounds and three assists. The Pacers shot .459 and improved to 6-0 when they score at least 90 points.
Josh Smith scored 16 with seven rebounds and three assists to lead the Hawks. Joe Johnson scored 15, while Zaza Pachulia scored 11 and Willie Green 10 off the bench. The Hawks shot .375, the seventh opponent in 10 games to be held to less than 40 percent by the Pacers.
"A good win for us. Atlanta has always been a tough out for us. Give them credit. They played hard even though they were shorthanded. We tried to carry out our identity, sharing the basketball and playing at a high level at the defensive end. " - Pacers coach Frank Vogel
"We know he’s a traditional slow starter. He knows and we know it will come." - Vogel on Granger
"I shoot them more and more in practice, but I never make them. It’s a fun game and it was really a fun game when this one went in." - Jeff Foster on his 3-pointer
"I did the little things tonight to stay on the floor. And when you stay on the floor you have a chance to perform and do things that you know you can do. I just felt more comfortable and really appreciate the playing time." - Stephenson
"Ball movement was good to get the open person and I feel like I am getting my stroke back. As we all know I am kind of a slow starter every year. And this year there was very little preseason so my preseason is now and I am getting better." - Granger
"Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong in the third quarter. We stayed in it in the second quarter, but we just came out in the third quarter and could not execute. We missed too many shots and made some mistakes and that compounded things. The Pacers came out tonight and established things." - Hawks Coach Larry Drew
STAT OF THE GAME
Foster's 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter was the seventh of his career (in 54 attempts), increasing his percentage to .130. It was his first 3-pointer since Dec. 13, 2008.
With Granger finding his stroke, the Pacers took over in the third quarter, opening with an 18-4 run that pushed the lead to 71-54. Granger scored 10 of those points and the defense limited the Hawks to 2-of-13 shooting.
After Atlanta had a brief surge to close to 71-59, the Pacers closed on a 9-0 run that was capped by a rare Jeff Foster 3-pointer as time expired, and the Pacers took a 21-point lead into the fourth that grew to 24 before the Hawks trimmed the final margin in garbage time.
There was no slow start for the Pacers, who used a 18-5 run to take control and won the first quarter for the first time in five games, taking a 28-20 edge into the second. But Atlanta began chipping away behind Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, who combined for 16 in the quarter. Indianapolis native Jeff Teague put the Hawks in front 50-49 with a layup late in the half but West and Granger scored to give the Pacers a 53-50 advantage heading into the locker room. The Pacers had 13 assists on 22 baskets in the first half as Granger and West scored 12 apiece.
This was the third game in a week for the Pacers against a team they expect to compete with for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference. They won in Boston 87-74 on Jan. 6 but lost in Philadephia, 96-86. "It's a shortened season and we know the bunch that we're in the mix with right now," Vogel said. "Everybody is sort of putting Miami and Chicago as the cream of the crop. From three to eight or nine or 10 it's sort of up for grabs. We feel we're at the top of that bunch and Atlanta certainly is playing well enough to be considered that way, as well." … Atlanta lost starting center Al Horford midway through the first quarter with a left shoulder strain. He went down hard after having consecutive shots blocked, first by Hibbert, then by George. … Hansbrough wore protective eyewear, but not the more flashy goggles and bright yellow headband that captivated his teammates in practice Tuesday. Hansbrough sustained a scratch to his right eye late in the third quarter in Philadelphia Monday. … Atlanta played its second game in a row without starting forward Marvin Williams, who did not make the trip with a sprained left ankle. Vladimir Radmanovic replaced him in the starting lineup. … The Hawks' leading bench scorer, Tracy McGrady, missed the game with back spasms. … Colts linebacker Gary Brackett was a front-row spectator. … Former Indy Car driver and current Colts scout A.J. Foyt IV and wife Casey Irsay, daughter of the Colts' owner, also had front-row seats. … Jeff Pendergraph made his first appearance with the Pacers, checking in with 5:23 left in the game. … Atlanta's nine points in the third quarter were the fewest scored against the Pacers in any period this season.
The Pacers make their second and final trip of the season to Toronto for a rematch with the Raptors Friday (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). The Pacers won the first meeting 90-85 on Dec. 28 in Air Canada Centre as Danny Granger scored nine of his 21 points in the final 4½ minutes and David West hit the clinching jumper with nine seconds remaining to stave off a Raptors rally sparked by DeMar DeRozan, who scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter.