Indiana Pacers (38-10) 89
Atlanta Hawks (25-22) 85
The Indiana Pacers will want to put away this game film and possibly not watch it again. It was an ugly game to watch, but here are the Pacers grinding out a win, just like I thought it would be. This game probably shouldn’t have been as close as it was once the Pacers put together that great third quarter defensively holding the Atlanta Hawks to 12 points. A win is a win, and the Pacers hold off the rally for their first win in the regular season in Atlanta since 2006. This was also one of the few wins the Pacers have put together on a back to back set.
I don’t think fans of either team enjoyed watching this one. A first quarter of 19-15 saw both teams struggling to find any groove. The Pacers were shooting around 50% for some of the game, but got hit with that turnover bug again. Something must happen to this team on the road as they seem to hit those turnovers more often out on the road. Tonight, the team had 18 turnovers. That’s way too many if you want to find some offensive footing in a game.
I’m surprised the Pacers were able to hold it together as much as they did in that third quarter. But come fourth quarter, the Hawks started putting a run together, and I even tweeted out that the Pacers have to find that killer instinct in knowing how to put a team away. You don’t lead by as many as 16 and end up having to hold off a furious rally when you’re one of the best teams in the league.
At the same time, finding those ways to win and hold a lead, I’ll give credit to the team. They needed a late basket and let David West do his work in the post. George Hill did a lot of dribbling, but came up with a late basket. Danny Granger hits some free throws to seal the game. Paul George gets a late steal for a break away dunk. Those are the plays that you’ll have to make in a dog fight of a game, like this was turning into.
Another thing to keep an eye on is the health of Lance Stephenson after one nasty fall, which resulted in a three point play.
Lance Stephenson is that guy that ends up on the floor much more than anticipated, but this one was legit and fans could feel the hurt from watching this a few times. He ends up hitting the free throw, but leaves the game at the end of the third quarter and never returned. I would imagine he’ll be hurting for a day or so, and hopefully nothing more serious comes of this.
The Pacers can put away the aura of whatever was going on in Atlanta and now focus on finishing up this week strong against Portland in another one of those “revenge” games. Portland put the Pacers away last time these teams met in Portland. But now the Pacers can return the favor, and Paul George will have to follow up a performance in that game of 43 points. Hopefully, a Pacers win comes around this next time.