Inside the Game: Hawks 110, Pacers 98 091226
Player of the Game
Veteran guard had his best game of the season off the bench, racking up 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-5 from the 3-point line, in 25 minutes.
Stat of the Night
Aside from Troy Murphy, Indiana's other four starters combined for 16 points on 7-of-26 shooting (.269) with eight turnovers. Even with Murphy's 19 points, the Pacers got a season-low 35 points from the first unit.
The Pacers head to Miami to face Dwyane Wade, Jermaine O'Neal and the Heat on Sunday (6 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, 1070 The Fan).
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Dec. 26, 2009 at Conseco Fieldhouse
Hawks 110, Pacers 98
A recurring matchup nightmare because of their athletic, aggressive front line, the Atlanta Hawks dominated the Pacers from the opening tip to the final buzzer in a 110-98 rout before 15,281 Saturday in Conseco Fieldhouse. Atlanta center Al Horford had 25 points, 19 rebounds and five blocked shots, bringing his two-game totals against the Pacers to 49 points, 35 rebounds and seven blocks – not to mention 22-of-31 shooting (71 percent).
The Pacers (9-19) lost their fifth in a row overall and fifth straight to the Hawks. Indiana lost for the 16th time in 20 games after a 5-3 start. The Hawks improved to 21-8 overall, 9-6 on the road.
“We got ourselves in a hole we never got out of. We started sluggish." – Jim O'Brien.
The Pacers came out flat and were steamrolled by the Hawks, who jumped out to a 9-0 lead and stretched it to 33-16 late in the period before the second unit brought some energy to the game.
With Tyler Hansbrough and Luther Head playing well, the Pacers produced a 13-0 run to cut the lead to 33-29 early in the second quarter but after Brandon Rush's jumper with 7:38 left in the half cut it to 37-33, the starters returned and the Hawks again took control. The Pacers went more than six minutes without a basket as Atlanta scored 10 straight to push the lead to 47-33.
Though O'Brien brought in three new starters for the second half (T.J. Ford, Brandon Rush and Hansbrough instead of Earl Watson, Mike Dunleavy and Roy Hibbert), the Hawks again opened strong with a 12-4 burst that made it 63-46 and the Pacers got no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
The last gasp came in the fourth quarter after Hansbrough's free throw cut it to 95-84 with 5:13 left, but Dunleavy fouled Jamal Crawford beyond the arc and the resulting four-point play put it away.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Pacers shot .444 overall, were 6-of-14 from the 3-point line and outrebounded the Hawks 47-37 but committed 16 turnovers and were outscored 22-11 on points off turnovers. The starters produced a season-low 35 points while the bench had a season-high 63. Murphy had 19 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, making 9-of-16 from the field. Hansbrough had his second career double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Head had his best game since November 2008 with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-5 from the arc. T.J. Ford had 10 points, nine assists and four rebounds off the bench. Dunleavy continued to struggle, scoring just two points with five turnovers in 24 minutes.
Horford shot 11-of-14 in racking up his 25 points. Joe Johnson scored 24 on 8-of-14 shooting, while Josh Smith had 22 points, six rebounds, five assists, five blocks and four steals. Crawford scored 19 off the bench. The Hawks shot .506 overall and outscored the Pacers 24-12 from the free-throw line.