On a night where they shot just 38% from the field, the Atlanta Hawks were not supposed to beat the top-seeded Indiana Pacers. With that, though, it nearly makes it all the more sweet that the home team ran away with a 98-85 victory to assume a 2-1 series advantage. Things began with, basically, the inverse of the first two games, as the Hawks came out on the assault. Atlanta forced a traveling violation by Paul George on the opening trip, and when Kyle Korver was fouled while shooting a three on the other end (he converted the trio), the Hawks were off and running. After a 7-2 spurt to began the game, things stabilized a bit, but with Paul George being whistled for 2 fouls in the first 4 minutes, the Hawks were able to build a 7-point lead despite some ugly early shooting. Jeff Teague led the charge in the early going with 7 points (including 5 straight during an 8-2 run) and he added 3 assists while playing the entirety of the period. Indy mounted a challenge late in the period with a 7-0 blitz of their own, but the Hawks were able to play even with the Pacers at 24 apiece despite shooting just 35% from the field and 1 for 7 from 3-point land. Atlanta's ice cold shooting continued into the second quarter, as the Hawks finished off a 1 for 10 start from beyond the 3-point arc after a Paul Millsap miss with 8:51 remaining in the quarter. Fortunately, that impotence didn't derail the home team, though, as the Hawks mounted a 5-point lead (at 37-32) after a series that included a Lou Williams block on Evan Turner (yes, really), double technicals on Luis Scola and Mike Scott, and Kyle Korver's first three-point connection of the night. The Pacers rallied following that mini-run by the Hawks, and Indiana even grabbed their first lead of the night at 38-37 after a David West runner in the lane. Paul Millsap answered with two free throws on the other end, though, and after an empty conclusion, the Hawks went to the locker room with a 1-point lead despite all of the offensive issues. On the whole, Atlanta shot 12 for 40 from the field (30%) and 2 for 16 (12.5%) in the half, and only the ugly Pacers offense bailed out the good guys. Paul George was the chief culprit for the Pacers, finishing 0 for 2 with 0 points (despite 7 rebounds) in the half, but Indy's output (38%) wasn't much better than Atlanta's and both parties could be reasonably pleased with the tight score. The third quarter didn't begin the way any Hawks fan wanted it to, with back-to-back turnovers from Paul Millsap and Paul George's first two points of the night, but aside from that, things went quite swimmingly. DeMarre Carroll keyed an 11-2 run midway through the period with a personal 6-point explosion with a three-pointer and a three-point play, and when Korver knocked down a triple to bookend it, the Hawks had their largest lead of the night to that point at 50-42. From there, Atlanta manicured the lead effectively, highlighted by a Jeff Teague dunk that lengthened it to 10 at the 4:43 mark, and Lou Williams connected on a huge triple near the buzzer to give the Hawks a 9-point advantage headed to the fourth.
Atlanta takes 2-1 series lead with 98-85 win over Indiana
Peachtree Hoops | Apr 25