Short-Handed Hawks Lose in Indiana

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
By Robby Kalland

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The short-handed Hawks (25-27) lost their sixth straight game as the Pacers (41-12) dominated the first and third quarters on their way to a 108-98 victory. The Pacers jumped out to a 31-9 lead in the first quarter thanks to a 13-of-14 shooting start, and they took advantage of seven early Hawks turnovers to get 14 of those points.

Hawks vs. Pacers
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The Hawks were able to cut the Pacers’ lead down to as few as three points in the second quarter, but never completed the comeback. In the third quarter, the Pacers came out like they did in the first and pulled back ahead by 22 points. The Hawks remained resilient and came back to within single-digits once again behind their bench unit before the Pacers pulled away for good late in the fourth quarter.

Kyle Korver led all Hawks players in scoring with 19 points — including five three-pointers as he extended his record streak to 121 consecutive games. Korver also had five assists and four rebounds as he and the Hawks bench did their best to keep Atlanta in the game.

The Hawks bench — particularly Lou WilliamsShelvin Mack and Mike Scott – all played well as they were forced into big roles due to injury. Williams had 18 points and three assists on an efficient 6-of-9 shooting performance, but he was forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter with a headache that sent him to the locker room for evaluations.

Mack gave the Hawks great energy off the bench in place of a struggling Jeff Teague, and he finished with 11 points and eight assists along with a team-high +/- of +16. Scott had 13 points and seven rebounds with a +/- of +10 as he — along with Mack — really spurred on the bench unit. Elton Brand played 30 minutes at center after Ayon went down, and had eight points and eight rebounds as he battled admirably with Roy Hibbert and the rest of Indiana’s bigs.

The Pacers proved to be too much, and — led by Paul George (27 points) and David West (17 points and six rebounds) — they were able to force the Hawks into mistakes on both ends of the court. The Hawks had 22 turnovers leading to 35 points, which negated what was otherwise a good offensive night as they shot 48.1% from the field and 46.2% from three-point range with 26 assists. The Hawks also had the rebounding advantage with 44 rebounds (12 offensive) to the Pacers’ 36 rebounds (6 offensive).

Already missing Al Horford, John Jenkins, and Pero Antic, the injury bug continued to take down more Hawks. DeMarre Carroll missed the game due to his lingering hamstring strain and Gustavo Ayon started the game but injured his right shoulder early and was only able to play a little under seven minutes. Once Goose went down, the Hawks were down to Paul MillsapElton Brand, and Scott as their frontcourt rotation.

Not helping the Hawks cause is their schedule, as they will play tomorrow night in Atlanta against the Wizards before having a day-off and then another road-home back-to-back against the Pistons and Knicks on Friday and Saturday.

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Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images

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