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Hawks roll to 14th straight win



ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks tied the team record with a 14th consecutive victory and in the process assured that Mike Budenholzer will be the Eastern Conference coach for the All-Star Game.

“We’re very happy for him,” guard Kyle Korver said after the Hawks’ 110-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. “He’s done an incredible job and we love playing for him.”

The Hawks, who never trailed, led by as many as 27 points and hit 13 of 29 attempts from behind the 3-point arc en route to their 28th victory in the past 30 games.

Atlanta (35-8) held a double-digit lead in each win during the streak, which began with a 90-85 victory at Milwaukee on Dec. 27. Only five other wins were by fewer than 10 points.

If the Hawks get a 15th straight victory Friday at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, they would break the mark set by the 1993-94 Atlanta team, which finished 57-25 and was led by Hall of Fame forward Dominique Wilkins.

Oklahoma City defeated Washington 105-103 in overtime Wednesday, pushing the Wizards six games behind the Hawks for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Budenholzer tried to deflect attention from him getting to coach in the All-Star Game, where he should have several Hawks on his roster.

“It’s a great honor, but it’s the players who put you in the position and the players who deserve the credit,” the second-year coach said.

Guard Jeff Teague, likely to be selected for the All-Star Game, had a double-double with 17 points and 11 assists against the Pacers.

Forward DeMarre Carroll also scored 17, and the Hawks placed six players in double figures while recording 30 assists on 39 baskets.

That epitomizes the selfless Hawks, who spread the floor, hit 3-pointers and play rugged defense. They had 12 steals against the Pacers.

“Active hands on defense has really been the key to this streak,” Teague said.

The Pacers (15-29) sustained their sixth consecutive loss in a season that was in trouble before it began when star forward Paul George broke his right leg.

“It’s been very difficult,” coach Frank Vogel said. “Nobody’s happy losing.”

Atlanta, which is 18-3 at home, went 4-for-8 on 3-point attempts to start the game and built a 23-13 lead. The Pacers got to within 25-21 at the end of the first quarter, but the Hawks started the second with a 12-2 run and were up by as many as 15 points before taking a 52-41 lead into intermission.

Pacers guard Rodney Stuckey had all 12 of his points by intermission. The Hawks, though, had 10 players score and turned seven first-half steals into 13 points.

Then things got worse for Indiana. The Hawks went 5-for-7 from behind the arc to start the third quarter, increasing their lead to 78-51. It was 88-64 going into the fourth quarter, and Atlanta pulled away again after the Pacers cut the lead to 13 points.

Center Al Horford, who missed most of last season with a torn pectoral muscle, scored 14 points for the Hawks, while forward Paul Millsap had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Reserve forward C.J. Miles led Indiana with 18 points, and guard C.J. Watson added 13 points. Forward David West grabbed 11 rebounds.

The Pacers shot 39.7 percent and committed 18 turnovers. The Hawks hit 50 percent of their field-goal attempts and gave the ball away 16 times.

The victory gave Atlanta a three-game sweep in the season series with the Pacers, who beat the No. 8-seeded Hawks in a tight six-game, first-round playoff series last season en route to the Eastern Conference Finals as a No. 1 seed.

“I don’t think they are dramatically different than the way they were playing at the end of last season,” said Vogel, who said that he would vote for Horford, Millsap and Teague on his All-Star ballot.

“I thought they gave us all we could handle last year not because we were collapsing, but because they were playing at an extremely high level. Add Horford into the mix and another year of continuity. Mike is doing a great job.”

NOTES: Pacers G George Hill missed his 11th straight game because a left groin strain, but he could return for the next game at Miami. Hill was out earlier with a knee injury and the starter has played in just five games, averaging 14.2 points. … G Shelvin Mack sat out his second game for the Hawks with a left calf strain sustained Saturday in Chicago. Mack is expected to be out at least a week. … G John Jenkins was recalled by the Hawks from the NBA Development League after scoring 28 points for Idaho on Monday. The first-round draft pick in 2012 out of Vanderbilt averaged 18 points in the D-League in 10 games. … The game with the Pacers was the second in a season-long, seven-game homestand for the Hawks, who don’t play on the road until Feb. 2 at New Orleans. … The Hawks defeated the Pacers 102-92 on Nov. 1 in Atlanta and 108-92 on Dec. 8 in Indiana. … The Pacers’ five-game trip concludes at Orlando on Saturday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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