The Indiana Pacers rallied from an anemic second quarter to defeat the Hawks in Atlanta and tie the playoff series. Two big three pointers by Paul George and David West gave the Pacers a late lead they would never surrender in the 91-88 win.
With just over two minutes to play, George would hit a three-pointer following a Hawks turnover to give the Pacers a one point lead. A bad pass would lead to a steal by West and after some crafty ball movement, West would drill the deep shot to give Indiana the four point lead.
But because this team can’t do anything cleanly lately, West was called for a foul on a Kyle Korver three-point attempt. Kover would hit all three but only after the refs gave him a second chance due a phantom lane violation that seemed to be predetermined.
George Hill would come up big on the next possession with a swooping layup to put the Pacers up three with just under a minute to play. George had a chance to put the game out of reach, but failed to convert at the free throw line. The Hawks would miss their last chance to tie it up due to some impressive perimeter defense by the Pacers.
George led the Pacers with 24 points off 55-percent shooting. He recorded another double-double in this series with 10 rebounds and managed to dish out five assists. Defensively, George finished with two blocks.
West continued to be a matchup problem for the Hawks. He had 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists. West was a monster on defense with three steals and a pair of blocks.
Hill finally came out of his slump in late in the game. He was 5-for-8 from the field for 15 points and had five assists.
Lance Stephenson struggled today, primarily because he was looking to score as opposed to creating offense. He is at his best when he has options off the dribble, but today he tried to do too much by himself. Stephenson was particularly bad from the three-point line, going 1-for-7 from the arc.
Stephenson finished with just five points, one assist, and four turnovers. He did manage to pull in nine rebounds.
Roy Hibbert spent extended stretches on the bench Saturday, but at times appeared to be playing better. He had six points off 3-for-5 shooting, three rebounds (two offensive), and a pair of blocks.
The Pacers shot very well from the field, hitting 48-percent of their shots. But there were long stretches where it felt like Indiana couldn’t hit the ocean (like the second quarter). The Pacers played solid defense for most of the game, holding the Hawks to 35-percent shooting. The Pacers also had 11 blocks and seven steals.
The series returns to Indianapolis Monday night, with tip off at 8PM.