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Pacers tie series with victory over Hawks

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers needed just six and a half minutes Tuesday to drive home their point.

A 19-0 run over that time led the Pacers to a dominating 101-85 victory over the Atlanta Hawks to tie their best-of-seven, first-round series at one, vividly producing images of how the Pacers ran over opponents early this season.

Pacers forward Paul George scored a game-high 27 points, including eight in the third quarter, and was greeted by virtually the entire bench when he hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter.

“We’re together,” George said. “If this is what it took for everyone to understand how close this team is, then that’s what it was. We’ve got each other’s back.”

George also had a game-high 10 rebounds, leading Indiana’s 38-rebound attack, and a game-leading six assists.

Forward Luis Scola, who didn’t score a basket in Indiana’s series-opening loss Saturday, came off the bench to supply 20 points. Point guard George Hill scored all 15 of his points in the second half. Guard C.J. Watson came off the bench to add 10.

“He rewards you for believing in him,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said of Scola. “You know he’s a warrior and you know he’s got big-game experience.”

Forward Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 19 points. Guard Jeff Teague, who scored 28 points in the series opener, had 14 and was held to two points in the second half.

Game 3 will be played Thursday night at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena, and George knows Teague will be back in a big way for that game.

“He’s a great player,” George said. “I’m going to challenge him. I’m going to go back at him.”

“I’m super excited,” said Teague, an Indiana native. “I’m ready to get out of here, being from here. I’m looking forward to getting back home and in front of the Atlanta crowd, which will be a rocking crowd.”

The Pacers, once down 11 points, began the third quarter with a four-point deficit after Millsap scored 13 points in the first half.

Hill scored 10 points in the third quarter and George had eight as the Pacers outscored the Hawks 31-13. Atlanta missed 15-of-20 shots in the third quarter and had six rebounds to Indiana’s 10.

“Thirty-one points and 75 percent (shooting). We’ve got to be better defensively,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said.

The Pacers used the 19-0 streak to put the game away, bringing their home fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to their feet after a few days of criticism that included some choice words from former NBA star and current TV broadcaster Charles Barkley.

“We were in a must-win situation,” said Indiana forward David West, who had six assists and eight points. “We had to play with a certain level of desperation. We just got active with our voices, our hands. I thought we were able to give ourselves a chance to win this game in the third quarter.”

The 19-point run by the Pacers covered the last 3:33 of the third quarter and nearly the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. By the time Atlanta guard Louis Williams stopped the streak on a running shot for a basket with 9:03 left in the game, Indiana had pulled ahead 87-65.

And if the score rolling up quickly on the Hawks was not damaging enough, the final few seconds of the third quarter completely destroyed them.

A block by Indiana forward Ian Mahinmi set up a fast break and George hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter with Bankers Life Fieldhouse erupting in noise. The Pacers scored the last 14 points of the third quarter and the first five points of the fourth.

“We put the print on this game in the third quarter,” George said.

NOTES: Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer congratulated his former boss, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, by phone on Tuesday after Popovich was named NBA Coach of the Year. “I’m a little biased. I think he’s the coach of the year every year,” said Budenholzer, who was a Spurs assistant for 17 years before becoming Atlanta’s head coach in 2013. … Before Tuesday’s game, Atlanta G Jeff Teague had averaged 26.5 points per game in his two most recent games against Indiana. His 16.5 points per game average during the regular season was a career high. … The Pacers won their last game in Atlanta, 89-85 on Feb. 4, breaking a 12-game losing streak at Phillips Arena. Game 3 of the series is Thursday at Phillips Arena. …The Pacers are attempting to break playoff history against the Hawks. In all previous five playoff series between the teams, the winner of Game 1 has won the series.

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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