GAME RECAP: Hawks 116, Pacers 111
Trae Young explodes for 41 points and 8 assists to lead Atlanta to the win against Indiana, 116-111.
Trae Young explodes for 41 points and 8 assists to lead Atlanta to the win against Indiana, 116-111.
Jan. 4, 2020 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, and Domantas Sabonis speak with the media following Indiana's 116-111 loss on Saturday night in Atlanta.
Game Rewind: Pacers 111, Hawks 116
Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 7:30 PM ET at State Farm Arena
The Pacers didn't visit Six Flags in their latest trip to Atlanta, but they went on an emotional roller coaster ride on Saturday night at State Farm Arena.
Indiana fell into a 22-point hole during a disastrous start, rallied to retake the lead early in the second half, but sputtered down the stretch. In the end, it all added up to a 116-111 loss to the Hawks.
Despite being without starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon and losing backup T.J. McConnell early in the fourth quarter, the Pacers (22-14) will look back on Saturday's game with disappointment. Atlanta (8-28) entered the night with the worst record in the NBA, was playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and was missing three key rotation players.
But second-year guard Trae Young scored 41 points and dished out eight assists to lift the Hawks to an improbable victory.
Domantas Sabonis led Indiana with 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 11 rebounds, and four assists in the loss.
The Pacers got off to a sluggish start offensively, hitting just three of their first 11 shots while falling into a 20-9 hole.
On the other end, the Hawks almost couldn't miss. After a Justin Holiday 3-pointer made it 20-12 with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter, Atlanta quickly reeled off a 15-2 run. The hosts started the game 14-for-19 from the field, extending their lead to 38-16 on Young's 3-pointer at 1:44.
The Blue & Gold righted the ship somewhat in the final two minutes of the frame, reeling off a 10-2 run of their own. But Young capped a sensational quarter with another three just before the buzzer to give the Hawks a 43-26 advantage after one. Young scored 18 points in the first quarter alone, going 6-for-6 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range.
"You have to establish yourself defensively and that was a huge quarter, that first quarter," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. "We wanted to be the aggressor, we needed to be the aggressors. We knew that that team played last night, and we just could not stop them in the first quarter."
Holiday provided a spark early in the second quarter, hitting two 3-pointers and adding a dunk during a 13-2 Pacers run that trimmed the deficit to 10 with 7:58 remaining in the first half.
Young, however, reentered the game shortly thereafter and temporarily prevented Indiana from making greater headway. Young hit two more threes and scored 10 points to push Atlanta's lead back to 15 points.
The Pacers came back once again, as Sabonis and Jeremy Lamb combined for 11 unanswered points, trimming the deficit to 59-55 with just under two minutes remaining in the half. It would be a 64-60 deficit at halftime, as Indiana entered the break with significant momentum, having erased most of a 22-point deficit.
The Blue & Gold finally took their first lead of the night with 9:26 remaining in the third quarter, when T.J. Warren drained a 3-pointer off a dish from Aaron Holiday and drew a foul in the process. The subsequent free throw put the Pacers ahead, 68-66.
The third quarter featured five ties and 10 lead changes. The Pacers led by as many as four points, but a 3-pointer by Kevin Huerter with 23.6 seconds left in the frame put Atlanta back in front, 96-95, entering the fourth quarter.
Indiana suffered a significant blow when McConnell rolled his left ankle with 9:35 to play. McConnell immediately collapsed on the ground and, to make matters worse, picked up a technical foul when he threw the ball to the sideline in frustration. He was helped to the locker room and did not return.
The Hawks had moved back in front 14 seconds earlier and maintained a narrow advantage for much of the fourth quarter.
Lamb hit a one-legged runner on the left baseline to cut the deficit to 111-109 with 2:51 remaining. After Sabonis blocked Young on the ensuing possession, Aaron Holiday had an open look from beyond the arc to give Indiana the lead, but couldn't get the shot to fall.
The Pacers got two more stops, but again couldn't score on the other end as Lamb and Warren, respectively, missed jumpers that would have tied the game.
Young then ended the brief scoring drought with 1:22 left, slipping through the Pacers' defense and converting a falling layup to push the Hawks' lead back to four.
Aaron Holiday hit one of two free throws with 44.8 seconds to play. Indiana then forced a shot clock violation on the other end, giving the visitors the ball with 20.8 seconds remaining and a chance to tie the game.
With the Hawks guarding the 3-point line tightly, Aaron Holiday struggled to get an open look and eventually decided to drive into the paint. He missed a layup, but Warren was fouled on the putback. Warren, however, missed the first foul shot before hitting the second with 4.5 seconds left.
Young left the door open for the Blue & Gold, missing one of two free throws on the other end. But he made up for it, intercepting Sabonis' full-court inbounds pass and drawing another foul, capping the night by surpassing the 40-point plateau.
"He is a very dangerous player," Sabonis said. "You know once he gets hot, he can shoot it from anywhere. He is smart with the ball, he gets a lot of fouls, he shoots a lot of free throws. Like I said, we dug ourselves into a hole in the first quarter, and once a player gets hot, it’s tough to stop."
Six Pacers finished the night in double figures. Justin Holiday had 18 points, going 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Warren added 17 points and seven boards, while Aaron Holiday (16 points and six assists), Myles Turner (14 points and six rebounds), and Lamb (12 points and four boards) also reached double digits.
Huerter was the Robin to Young's Batman, scoring 26 points while going 10-for-18 from the field and 4-for-7 from 3-point range while also tallying six rebounds and five assists.
The Hawks won despite not having the services of starting forwards John Collins (back contusion) and Cam Reddish (right wrist sprain) as well as key reserve Jabari Parker (throat infection).
The Pacers will look to bounce back on Monday evening in Charlotte, when they wrap up a two-game road trip against Devonte' Graham and the Hornets.
Inside the Numbers
Sabonis recorded his team-leading 28th double-double of the season in the loss.
Aside from Sabonis, the rest of the Pacers' starting lineup struggled with their shots on Saturday. Aaron Holiday was 5-of-19 from the field, Warren was 5-of-14, Lamb was 3-of-10, and Turner was 2-of-8.
Atlanta narrowly won the battle of the boards, 40-39. The Pacers have now been outrebounded in eight straight games and 14 of their last 15 contests.
The Pacers did get to the free throw line often, going 29-for-35 from the charity stripe, one shy of their season highs for both free throws made and attempted (both marks were set on Dec. 11 against Boston).
Young topped 40 points for the fourth time this season and the second time in three games against the Pacers. He had a career-high 49 points in an overtime loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Nov. 29.
You Can Quote Me On That
"I mean, he shot some deep shots. We had pressure on him, I think two or three of those shots in that first quarter, really deep, and guys were in front of him. So, he was hot shooting the ball, but (41) points, you have to establish yourself defensively, and we didn't do that. He got hot and had a big first half against us." -McMillan on Young
"I felt like we were the better team, we just couldn’t get it done. Like I said, once you start a game like that, the other team has confidence, starts knocking down shots, and it just goes on for the whole game...I just felt like they wanted it more than us tonight." -Sabonis
"I think we could have been a little better on our decision making down the stretch. Some games it’s there, some games it's not, but our plans are to try to be consistent, be calm, making the right play down the stretch, and obviously winning the game." -Justin Holiday
"We just closed the game out. We played smarter. We finished it. We executed at the end, and that's what ultimately won us the game. It was something we learned. For us missing a couple of our big pieces, bouncing back like that was really good." -Young
"I thought our guys didn't really worry about the score tonight. And I think there's been times where you could feel the effect of momentum change. And when that momentum started to change, I don't think our guys were affected by it. I thought we did it on the defensive end. I thought we competed on the defensive end." -Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce
Stat of the Night
With Saturday's victory, the Hawks became the final team in the NBA this season to win a game when playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Entering the night, Atlanta was 0-7 when having played the night before.
- Prior to Saturday, the Pacers had won seven straight games against the Hawks, including three straight in Atlanta.
- 42-year-old forward Vince Carter played 18 minutes for the Hawks on Saturday, his first game action in 2020. When he checked into the game at the 6:30 mark in the first quarter, Carter became the first player in NBA history to appear in an NBA game in four different decades.
- Pacers forward Doug McDermott scored five points off the bench to surpass 3,000 for his career.
- Indiana wore its white Hickory uniforms on Saturday for the third time this season and the first time on the road.
The Pacers travel to Charlotte to take on the Hornets on Monday, Jan. 6 at 7:00 PM ET.
After a two-game road trip, the Pacers return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to host Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »