Comeback Falls Just Short vs. Indiana

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
By Jaryd Wilson

Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks

A few thoughts after tonight’s 89-85 loss to the Pacers:

– Tonight showed why, in my mind, this Hawks team is one of the most fun teams to watch.  Many teams could have packed it in after falling behind by 16 in the fourth quarter, but not this team.  Led by an unlikely fourth quarter lineup (see below), Atlanta proved why yet again this team has no quit.

Hawks vs. Pacers
Photo Gallery

– My hat is off to Coach Bud for his fourth quarter lineup.  He inserted Cartier Martin and Dennis Schröder after the team scored just 55 points through three quarters, and those two, along with Shelvin Mack, Mike Scott and Paul Millsap, led the comeback.  Bud tinkered with the lineup looking for a spark and found one, and when the score got close, he stuck with the guys that brought him back rather than going back to the starters, and I commend him for that.

– Martin saw his first action since signing a 10-day contract, and he delivered big fourth quarter minutes on both ends of the floor.  His eight points helped spark the late rally, and his defense was very good as well.  He has the benefit of already knowing the system and his teammates, and this game should help him campaign for a second 10-day.

– Schröder was also terrific in running the offense, keeping everybody calm and pushing the pace when necessary.  It was great for the rookie to play in that situation, and considering it was a makeshift lineup, I thought he played good, mistake-free basketball.

– Atlanta’s defense has been hit-or-miss since Pero Antic went down with an injury, and tonight it was obviously much better.  The Pacers’ deliberate style of play certainly helps lower the scoring, but I thought the Hawks were very good in a lot of areas.  They made shots difficult for Indiana and held them to 28 points in the paint.  Defensively, they executed the recipe for success against the team with the best record in the NBA.

– Offensively, the Hawks were not very good, though I thought they had a lot of good looks that just didn’t fall tonight.  Kyle Korver missed a few he normally makes, and Millsap couldn’t seem to get anything to fall.  They still had 26 assists on 33 made baskets, so the ball movement was very good.  I think they’ll win a lot of games if they play like that.

– One note about the decision not to call a timeout.  Coach Bud could have called his last one after C.J. Watson missed the second free throw.  The Hawks would have had the ball with 13 seconds left and an 87-84 deficit.  In hindsight, that may have been better, but I like the decision not to.  Off a miss, there’s always a chance to catch a team sleeping on someone in transition, and that’s what Bud was counting on.  Millsap ended up being fouled, which may have been what the Pacers would have done anyway.  I like the gamble, and the timeout was still there later.

Overall, this was a typical Indiana Pacers win.  Stifling defense and timely buckets helped Indiana create just enough separation to fight off a late rally, but the Hawks can’t hold their heads.  Sometimes you won’t play well, but this team continues to play hard, and that’s what’s important.  They’ll have a chance to quickly put this one behind them when they face the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.

Tweet of the Night

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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