Friday, Jan. 13 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Game Recap: Hawks 113, Pacers 111
The Pacers were down three starters on Friday night against Atlanta, but you wouldn't have known it watching them play.
Despite being shorthanded, Indiana scrapped and fought until the bitter end, though they ultimately fell in heartbreaking fashion. John Collins' putback layup with 0.7 seconds left gave Atlanta (20-22) a 113-111 win and snapped the Pacers' six-game win streak on their homecourt.
Indiana led 101-92 with eight minutes remaining in Friday's contest following a dunk by Oshae Brissett, but the Hawks clawed back. Trae Young converted a three and two free throws before De'Andre Hunter drilled back-to-back triples that gave the visitors a 103-101 lead with 5:46 remaining.
Brissett converted a jumper with 4:53 to play to end the Pacers' scoring drought and tie the game. Jalen Smith put the hosts back in front with two free throws 20 seconds later, then added a layup the next time down the floor.
Free throws by Young and Dejounte Murray helped the Hawks cut the deficit back to 107-106. The visitors moved in front when Onyeka Okongwu blocked Andrew Nembhard, triggering a breakaway layup by Murray with 2:08 remaining.
The two teams traded misses before Mathurin drove into the paint and spun past Hunter, converting the go-ahead layup and drawing a foul with 58.7 seconds to play. He missed the free throw, however, and Young drained a step-back three with 31.3 seconds left.
On the other end, Hield drove and was met at the rim by Okongwu, but drew enough contact to earn a whistle. The veteran sharpshooter knocked down both free throws to tie the game with 21.5 seconds remaining.
With the shot clock off, Young appeared content to hold the ball for the last shot, but when the Pacers sent a double team, he launched a deep three with five seconds still on the clock. The shot was short, but the rebound fell right to Murray on the left elbow. He hoisted and missed a jumper, but Collins was there on the left block to tap it back in.
"The angle was just weird," second-year Pacers center Isaiah Jackson said of the sequence. "It was a lot going on. (Collins) was just there to tip it in. They were just in the right spots at the right time. There was really nothing we could do about it."
The buzzer initially sounded, but after review, 0.7 seconds were put back on the clock. Nembhard tried to lob the inbound to the rim, but the Hawks swatted it away to secure the victory.
Mathurin finished with a team-high 26 points to lead six players in double figures in the loss, going 9-for-18 from the field and 8-for-11 from the free throw line. Hield added 18 points on 5-of-12 3-point shooting and Brissett tallied 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench as the Pacers nearly won despite missing three starters.
Indiana announced on Thursday that star point guard Tyrese Haliburton will be sidelined at least two weeks with a left elbow sprain and mild left knee bone contusion. Indiana was also without starting center Myles Turner (back spasms) and forward Aaron Nesmith (non-COVID illness) on Friday, as both players missed their second straight games.
Others stepped up in their absence -- like Jackson -- who started for Turner at center and racked up 10 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high seven blocks, but it wasn't quite enough.
Young had 26 points and 11 assists for Atlanta, going 6-for-11 from 3-point range. Hunter added 25 points on 6-of-9 3-point shooting, while Okongwu had a monster night with 18 points, 20 rebounds, and four blocks.
Young knocked down a three on Friday's opening possession and set up Okongwu for a couple early dunks as Atlanta jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead.
After a timeout by Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, the Blue & Gold found their flow offensively. Indiana outscored the Hawks 16-7 over the next five minutes. That run was capped by the Pacers taking their first lead of the night when T.J. McConnell stole the ball from Collins, triggering a break where Chris Duarte connected with a streaking Mathurin for a breakaway layup with 4:47 remaining in the opening frame.
Indiana led 24-21 following Brissett's three-point play at 3:49, but the Hawks owned the final minutes of the quarter. Young and Jalen Johnson hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Okongwu scored four times in the paint as Atlanta outscored Indiana 15-3 over the remainder of the frame to take a 36-27 lead into the second quarter.
Mathurin and the Pacers attacked the paint in the ensuing frame. The rookie guard scored 10 points in the first six minutes of the second quarter -- including eight straight Pacers points on four layups.
Indiana tied the game five times in the latter half of the quarter. They finally moved back in front just before halftime.
With the score knotted at 55, A.J. Griffin missed a three. Jackson secured the rebound and passed ahead to Mathurin, who found Hield spotting up on the left wing. Hield shotfaked and then calmly buried the go-ahead trey just before the buzzer to give the hosts a 58-55 lead at the intermission.
Indiana scored the first four points of the second half before the Hawks caught fire from deep. Hunter hit back-to-back threes, Young drained a trey from nearly 30 feet, and Murray added a triple of his own during a 14-0 Atlanta outburst over just 2:04 of game time.
"The 14-0 run in the third quarter was probably the biggest killer in the game," Carlisle said. "During that stretch we had poor communication and we didn't get to shooters and we had empty possessions. It put us up against it."
The Hawks led 82-74 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, but the Blue & Gold closed the frame with a flourish. Smith scored six points -- including the go-ahead layup -- during a 12-0 Indiana run. Young hit two free throws with 6.2 seconds remaining to end the Hawks' drought, but once again, Hield closed a quarter strong, swishing in a three at the buzzer to give the Pacers an 89-84 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The hosts added to their lead early in the final frame. One particular sequence sent the crowd into a frenzy. First, Jackson rejected Griffin on the baseline for his sixth block of the night. McConnell went diving into the crowd to try to save the ball. He couldn't quite get there, but his hustle drew a loud ovation.
The crowd grew even louder seconds later, as Jackson swatted away Griffin's jumper off the inbound, triggering a break that culminated in another three from Hield that pushed Indiana's lead to 99-90.
The Blue & Gold appeared on their way to a seventh straight home victory at that point, but the Hawks rallied to snap Indiana's streak.
Smith finished with 14 points and six rebounds in the loss. McConnell added 13 points, seven boards, seven assists, and two steals.
The Pacers won't have much time to rest, as they hit the Fieldhouse floor again on Saturday night against Memphis.
Inside the Numbers
Mathurin topped 20 points for the 17th time this season.
Brissett recorded his first double-double of the season and the 10th of his career.
Okongwu's 20 rebounds were a new career high, five more than his previous best.
The Pacers struggled from 3-point range, going 7-for-30 (23.3 percent) from beyond the arc. Those seven 3-pointers matched Indiana's lowest total in a game this season. Aside from Hield, Indiana went just 2-for-18 from beyond the arc.
The Hawks, conversely, went 16-for-33 (48.5 percent) from 3-point range.
Indiana outscored the Hawks 64-40 in points in the paint.
The Pacers outscored Atlanta 30-19 in fastbreak points and came within two points of their season high in transition.
Postgame Media Availability: Jan. 13, 2023
You Can Quote Me On That
"Rebounding has been a nemesis of ours and it got us on the last play." -Carlisle on Collins' tip-in
"I felt like we jelled. I felt like it carried over from the New York Knicks game (on Wednesday). Just the toughness that everybody was playing with, we tried to bring it out tonight. It's a learning experience for us. We're down some guys and we don't know when they're going to be back. It's next man up. I feel like everybody's taking on that role and stepping up." -Jackson on playing with new lineups
"I thought the chemistry was good. I felt like we moved the ball really well...I feel like today we did a good job of bonding together, especially at the end. We were right in there. We made a couple good plays, a couple silly plays, but it's all a learning process." -Brissett
"This is what is important for the development of this team and the future of our franchise is to put these young guys in a position like this tonight and commit to it and say basically, 'You guys are gonna win or lose the game for us. We're putting it in your hands.'" -Carlisle on playing so many young players with Haliburton and Turner sidelined
"We're good teammates and we're growing off the court. It's a relationship that keeps going. Buddy will wind up being one of the greatest shooters of all time. And me coming up as a rookie -- I'm an alpha, he's an alpha...At the end of the day, we just want to see each other succeed." -Mathurin on playing alongside and learning from Hield
"It's something that I can do when I'm given time. When I'm out there, it's my opportunity and I'm just going to take advantage of it. I know that that's something that Coach really loves about my game." -Brissett on getting 10 rebounds
"Isaiah Jackson has been great the whole year. His impact on the game is just crazy...he had seven blocks, it's a game-changer." -Mathurin on Jackson's performance
Stat of the Night
Jackson's seven blocks were two more than his previous best. He had five blocks against Oklahoma City on Feb. 25 of last season and again against Detroit on Oct. 22.
- The Pacers and Hawks have split a pair of games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse this season and will meet once more in Atlanta on March 25 to determine the season series.
- With all the injuries, Mathurin started for the third time this season and the first time at home.
- Indiana is now 12-5 on the season when six or more players reach double figures.
- The Pacers are 3-5 when playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse for the second half of a home back-to-back to take on Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>