Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 7:30 PM ET at Philips Arena
Game Rewind: Pacers 87, Hawks 97
Pacers.com Staff | January 8, 2014
The Pacers knew going to Atlanta to finish a stretch of four games in five games would be a tall task at Philips Arena, where they haven’t won a regular season game since Dec. 22, 2006. It would be made even tougher without starting shooting guard Lance Stephenson, who suffered a right knee contusion and was scratched from the lineup an hour before tip.
A difficult first half put the Pacers (28-7) in a deep hole, one they couldn’t overcome as the Hawks (19-17) led wire-to-wire in their 97-87 win, which snapped their 3-game losing streak.
The Pacers were faced with a mental challenge Wednesday night and needed to find some source of energy, which usually comes from Stephenson. The Hawks, who are now 6-1 in their last seven homes games, soared from the beginning. They sprinted off and scored the game’s first 12 points. The Pacers made just one of their first 13 shots and five in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Hawks 31-year-old rookie center Pero Antic drilled a pair of 3-pointers and had eight points. The Pacers trailed by 13.
C.J. Watson and Indiana’s reserves then took the floor and brought some life to the team. Watson scored seven straight, getting them to within nine, but then the Hawks nailed two more of their six triples in the first half. One sequence, where the Pacers missed three attempts at the rim, summed up this one. After scoring just one point per minute in the opening quarter, the Pacers went into the locker room with a season-low 32 points and behind, 49-32.
In the first five minutes of the second half, the Pacers’ struggle continued and they dropped down as many as 25. After a timeout by coach Frank Vogel, however, they came out energized and played mad. David West was in his teammates ear and the bench was on its feet cheering the five guys that were playing.
Indiana used a 17-4 run and got it down to 11 as the Hawks went four and a half minutes without a field goal. After 32 in the first half, the Pacers shot 53 percent and tallied 34 points in the third, led by Danny Granger’s 10, and it was 79-66 heading into the fourth quarter.
As Roy Hibbert had his worst night of the season, Vogel kept him on the bench the entire quarter and went with the duo of West and Luis Scola. It was a putback by Scola that cut it to nine and the Pacers had chances late but failed to capitalize on them. They missed their final seven 3-point attempts and turned the ball over three times, as they put an end to the Pacers’ 3-game win streak.
The good news for the Pacers is that they’re returning home have just one road game over the next five games.
Inside the Numbers
With a game-high 28 points and 12 rebounds, Paul George registered his fourth double-double of the season. Danny Granger posted a season-high 14 points, five rebounds and three assists after getting the starting nod. C.J. Watson added nine points and Rasual Butler had eight, which tied his season high.
Roy Hibbert was ineffective in this one, limited to a season-low two points on 1-of-8 shooting. In the team’s last regular season visit to Atlanta, he was scoreless in 21 minutes.
The Hawks had five players in double figures, led by Kyle Korver’s 17 points. Pero Antic tied his season-high with 16 points, including three 3-pointers for his eighth straight game with at least one deep shot. Indy native Jeff Teague chipped in 15 points and six dimes.
Indiana’s nine free throw attempts are a season-low. Atlanta was 19-of-22 (86 percent) at the line.
Atlanta, who leads the league in assists, chalked up an assist on 27-of-34 field goals.
The Pacers fall to 6-5 on the second night of a back to back, with all five losses coming on the road. Over the last nine days, the Pacers checked off three of their 20 sets this season and won’t play another one for 17 days.
“It was unrecoverable. It pretty much decided the game. We were climbing uphill the rest of the way.” – Frank Vogel
“We knew it was going to be tough, but we make no excuses. You have to win every night when you’re competing for what we’re competing for. … It’s a challenging and unique style to play against. With this being our fourth game in five nights and no preparation time to get ready for this style, we knew it was going to be a tough game.” – Frank Vogel on Atlanta’s spread-five offense
“When you fall behind 12-14 points to start the game off, you give a team like this all of the confidence in the world. Plus they’re playing at home. I felt like that’s where we lost the game. We knew regardless of being down (25) that we still had a chance to win. There were a couple of plays here and there that could’ve helped us get over the hump, but we just didn’t do it. This was definitely a winnable game for us, but it’s a tough stretch. This was four out of five (nights). It’s not an excuse, but it’s nothing to get too down about.” – Paul George
Stat of the Game
Indiana’s first quarter: 12 points, 5-of-21 shooting (23.8 percent), and six turnovers.
- The Hawks have beaten the Pacers in 12 straight regular season meetings in Atlanta.
- Paul George was hit with his fourth technical foul of the season in the third quarter.
- The last time Stephenson missed a game was on March 25th (right hip flexor), also against the Hawks. Danny Granger started his first game since Game 6 of the 2012 playoffs.
- David West had a couple fingers on his right hand taped up in the second quarter and returned to the game.
Friday, Jan. 10 vs Washington – 7 p.m. EST