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Hawks take 3-2 series lead over Pacers

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Atlanta Hawks did not just put on a 3-point shooting exhibition Monday night. It was a clinic.

Second-year pro Mike Scott, a forward from Virginia, hit a playoff-career-high five 3-pointers and guard Kyle Korver also hit five as the Hawks defeated Indiana 107-97 to bring the top-seeded Pacers to the brink of elimination in Game 5 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

The Hawks hit 15-of-27 3-pointers, beating the franchise playoff record for 3-pointers by three. Nine of them came in the second quarter when Atlanta outscored Indiana 41-19, and left the Pacers facing a shower of boos from their home fans. They also face elimination by the No. 8-seeded Hawks if the Pacers do not win the next two games.

“We took some tough shots and made some tough shots,” said Scott, who scored 17 points, a career playoff high. “It gives you confidence when they’re going in.”

Scott did not miss a shot in the second quarter, hitting six in a row and all five of his 3- pointers. His previous playoff bests were 12 points and one 3-pointer.

“If you could explain it, you would bottle it up,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “All coaches wonder. Obviously, I think it helps when you see the ball go in the basket on your first shot. You develop a little bit of confidence. He’s somebody that we have a lot of trust in, a lot of confidence in.”

The Hawks lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, and they can clinch the series by winning Game 6 on Thursday night at Phillips Arena in Atlanta.

“We’ve got to go down and steal one,” said Pacers forward Paul George, who scored a game-high 26 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds. “And win two games in a row.”

If the Pacers win Thursday, the deciding seventh game would be played Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Forward Shelvin Mack led Atlanta with 20 points. Forward Paul Millsap scored 18. Scott came off the bench to score 17. Korver added 16.

Mack and Scott led a 45-point performance by Atlanta’s bench. Five Indiana players off the bench combined for 23 points.

“I thought in the second quarter we played with great pace,” Mack said. “We had fresh legs.”

Indiana had never given up 15 3-pointers in the regular season or playoffs.

“We had a couple of breakdowns in coverage, but we didn’t have nine of them,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said.

“We’re fighting for our lives,” Pacers forward David West said. “It’s just really disappointing.”

West and starting guards Lance Stephenson and George Hill each added 16 points.

Atlanta is trying to become the first No. 8 seed to win a playoff series since the Philadelphia 76ers knocked out the Chicago Bulls in 2012.

The Pacers will attempt to avoid a first-round knockout for the first time since 2011, when the Chicago Bulls eliminated them in five games

Down by one point after the first quarter, the Hawks put the game away with a 25-4 run that was fueled by a 3-point shooting clinic. The Hawks hit eight 3-pointers in the second quarter alone. They hit 13-of-16 shots in the quarter.

The Hawks led by 21 points at halftime, expanded the lead to 30 midway through the third quarter and were never seriously threatened thereafter.

Indiana center Roy Hibbert was on the bench less than six minutes into the game after missing the only shot he took and not getting any rebounds. He did return to the lineup in the second quarter, but finished with zero points and zero rebounds in more than 12 minutes. Those are numbers Hibbert had never seen in a playoff game.

At one point in the third quarter, the Pacers covered the paint with forward David West and rarely used forward Chris Copeland.

Will there be a lineup change for Indiana on Thursday night?

“Consider anything at this point,” Vogel said.

NOTES: Atlanta G Kyle Korver moved into sixth place on the club’s all-time playoff 3-point list when he hit a 3-pointer in the second quarter. It was his 23rd career 3-pointer in the playoffs. … The Hawks have hit at least 10 3-pointers in each of the first five games of the series, totaling 59. … Indiana F Paul George had a double-double in each of the first five games, leading all players in the NBA playoffs. Before Monday, he had also logged 159 minutes of playing time, 17 more minutes than the second-most used player, Atlanta F Paul Millsap. Millsap logged 39 minutes Monday, and George played 43 minutes… Former Pacers coach Jack Ramsey died Monday. He led the Pacers to their first playoff victory in 1987 over the Atlanta Hawks. A moment of silence was held in his memory prior to Monday’s game. “I knew he was a great coach, but once I got to know him, he was a better man,” Donnie Walsh, current Pacers consultant, said in a statement.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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