In the first of a four-game regular season series between the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks, Indiana claimed an early advantage in the series on Wednesday night. Atlanta proved to be a tough test near the end of the game, but the Pacers survived with a 105-95 road win.
The opening to the game was a surprise for both sides when at the time it was a 17-14 team facing a 7-23 team who has struggled all season on defense which was not the total case on Wednesday. Six minutes into the action, Atlanta led 18-9 after a big start to the game powered by excellent play in the lane. The Pacers were able to provide a response with three minutes left in the first quarter when Indiana went on an 11-5 scoring to close out the quarter and led 28-27 after one.
Just like the first quarter, the second was very peculiar for both sides. It would not be until the final two minutes where the Pacers found the most success when they closed out the final 120 seconds on an 8-2 run for a 53-51 lead at the break. Atlanta actually led 49-45 before the run, which gave the Pacers the slightest scoring advantage in the second outscoring the Hawks 25-24.
To start the second half, the Pacers would start to find some separation after outscoring Atlanta 25-20 in the third quarter. Unlike the first two quarters, the third started out well for the Blue and Gold with a 9-5 scoring run over the first five minutes to give Indiana a 7-point advantage. From there, each side pretty much exchanged looks with the Pacers still leading 78-71 going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth and final quarter was not the blowout we expected, but you have to give credit to Atlanta for hanging around with the far superior Pacers. Being the heavy favorite, Indiana did what they do best and simply played the better brand of basketball. The Pacers opened the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run in the first two minutes which started to put the game out of reach leading 85-73. Indiana was not just done yet piling on the scoring, going on an 11-1 scoring run starting at the 6:22 mark left in the fourth which ultimately sealed the deal leading 105-85 with just under three minutes to go. This is where Atlanta surprisingly mounted their comeback scoring ten unanswered points, but there simply was not enough time left to overcome a large Pacers lead. Indiana despite having control for nearly the entire quarter, narrowly outscored the Hawks 27-24 in the fourth.
Victor Oladipo once again was the forefront of an excellent Pacers team leading both sides for scoring finishing with 23 points (8/15 FG, 3/5 3PT, 4/5 FT). In addition to the great scoring effort, Oladipo added 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal in 32 minutes on the floor.
Oladipo led six Pacers players scoring in double figures. Myles Turner scored 20 points (6/13 FG, 1/4 3PT, 7/7 FT) along with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks. Bojan Bogdanovic added a nice effort with 19 points (8/14 FG, 1/5 3PT, 2/2 FT), 1 rebound, and 2 steals. Darren Collison and Cory Joseph each added 11 points apiece, while Lance Stephenson chipped in 10.
All five players in the Pacers starting lineup ended with a positive-plus minus which has been normal for Indiana in all eighteen of their wins. It was an incredible defensive effort in my opinion from Indiana who only allowed the Hawks to have one player reach fifteen points.
Just as you would expect from the final score, the Pacers were the better side in terms of shooting the ball. For instance, Indiana shot 40-82 (48.8%) from the field, 7-21 (33.3%) from distance, and 18-19 (94.7%) from the charity stripe. Atlanta was somewhat close, but no match finishing 35-80 from the field, 8-29 from beyond the arc, and 17-20 from the free throw line.
Everywhere else on the scoreboard, it was a bit surprising, but Indiana was outrebounded 42-37 by the Hawks. Additionally, Atlanta was the slightly better team in ball movement and defensive playmaking. The Pacers were able to dish out 19 assists and rack up 5 steals while also rejecting 5 shots. Indiana was also able to only commit 10 turnovers and score 6 points off the Hawks 14 turnovers.
- Victor Oladipo posted his 23rd game of the season scoring 20 or more points
- Indiana’s bench only committed two turnovers
- Rookie John Collins led the Hawks in scoring and rebounding, racking up 18 points and nine rebounds
- The Hawks lead the all-time series 100-84
Stat of the Night (Pacers.com)
The Pacers took the points they were given, making 18-of-19 free throws. Myles Turner led the team, making all seven of his attempts.
The Pacers will be the host when the Brooklyn Nets come to town on Saturday at 7:00 PM Eastern.