Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 88, Hawks 107
Scott Agness | April 6, 2014
The Pacers turned in a disappointing performance Sunday evening with the Atlanta Hawks in town. Both teams still had plenty to play for. Indiana entered the night still fighting to capture the top seed in the East and more importantly, to return to their winning ways. Atlanta, meanwhile, was trying to maintain control of the eighth and final playoff spot, with the New York Knicks hot on their heels.
Indiana trailed by 20 after just 12 minutes to play and posted the worst half in franchise history. They played much better in the second half, but nothing could make this dreadful showing look pretty. A hot-shooting Atlanta (34-42) team led the entire way en route to a 107-88 victory over the Pacers (53-25).
This one got away from the Pacers fast — they fell behind 17-3 — and the troubles lasted throughout the half. Pacers coach Frank Vogel used his second timeout at the 6:05 mark of the first quarter and he yanked all five starters because they weren’t getting it done. The Hawks, who were without numerous players, including key contributors Al Horford and Lou Williams, shot 67 percent (14-of-21) in the first period and jumped out to a 33-11 lead.
Things got even worse before they got a little better for the Pacers. As the Hawks' hot shooting continued, the Pacers managed just three field goals in the second quarter and missed half of the 12 free throws they attempted. Indiana’s 23 first-half points were a franchise-low, topping the old mark of 27 back in 2004.
Out of the locker room, the Pacers were focused on putting that half behind them and elevating their energy level. They matched their first-quarter total of 11 points in less than four minutes of play. After a scoreless first half, George Hill led the team with nine points as they gained ground on the Hawks with a 36-point third period. Their deficit was cut to 20 at 79-59 with 12 minutes to go.
As the Pacers threatened, the Hawks answered with a 12-4 spurt, spanning the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, to go back ahead by 24 and maintain control of the game. Indiana native Jeff Teague was too much to handle, scoring 12 of his game-high 25 points in the final stanza and leading the Hawks to the victory.
Vogel elected to have Ian Mahinmi start the second half with the other starters, and didn’t play Roy Hibbert the entire second half. Vogel felt Hibbert, who has played in every game this season, is worn down and was facing a tough matchup against the Hawks, who play two agile centers with an ability to stretch the floor. Over the final four games of the regular season, with three on the road, Vogel says he’ll have to balance rest versus rhythm — which is no easy task.
Inside the Numbers
After no Indiana player had more than six points in the first half, five ended the night in double figures. Paul George finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and six steals, which ties his career-high. David West had 13 points, six rebounds and six assists and both Ian Mahinmi and Luis Scola contributed 10 points off the bench.
Roy Hibbert had just one turnover to his name in a season-low nine minutes. It was his first game without a point or rebound since his rookie season, March 21, 2009 at Charlotte.
Hawks center Pero Antic, who was a game-time decision because of a sprained ankle, finished with a career-high 18 points — knocking in 7-of-8 shots. With 17 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Millsap recorded his fourth consecutive double-double. Hawks reserve Shelvin Mack out of Butler had 13 points and a game-high seven assists.
Indiana finished the game with 18 assists, but had just one in the first half — a season-low.
The Pacers are a 78 percent free throw shooting team, but were uncharacteristically poor, shooting 19-of-30 at the line.
“Clearly, an extremely poor performance by our team. I don’t think it’s acceptable for any of us in our organization to play the way we played tonight.” – Frank Vogel
“I believe in the team’s character. I believe in our ability. We just have to get back to work. … We have to play better than we’re playing. It’s that simple.” – Frank Vogel
“We can't panic. We have to be loose about it. We're putting too much pressure where pressure doesn't need to be right now. We've just got to do what we do.” – Paul George
“Coach sometimes has to do what he did. He held us accountable for it and we didn’t come out with that energy. It’s not the end of the world.” – George Hill on the starters being pulled
“For us, it’s not about effort. I think we’re playing hard. We just got a little discombobulated and it has led to some of these losses as of late. We’re a 50-plus win team, we’re a dangerous team … coming own the stretch we will be.” – David West
“We’re going to keep fighting. We’re going to be aggressive. We’re of the mindset that we can hit another gear. We wholeheartedly believe that as a group. There’s not a guy in this locker room that doesn’t believe that.” – David West
Stat of the Game
Atlanta shot 56 percent for the game, the second-highest shooting percentage by an Indiana opponent this season. It was second only to Oklahoma City’s 61 percent on Dec. 8.
- The loss is Indiana’s second of the season to an Eastern Conference foe (24-2). It also ends a three-game home win streak over Atlanta, dating back to March 6, 2012.
- Roy Hibbert declined comment for just the second time over his six-year career. The other time came last year in Atlanta (12/29/2012), when he was benched for the entire fourth quarter. He was late out of the locker room, joining his teammates on the bench 92 seconds into the second half.
- Indiana rookie Solomon Hill missed his second straight game due to a sore back.
- Former Los Angeles Dodger pitcher and Anderson, Indiana native Carl Erskine, 87, performed the National Anthem on a harmonica.
Wednesday, April 9 at Milwaukee – 8 p.m. EST