The Atlanta Hawk captured their tenth consecutive win with a 108-93 victory over the Indiana Pacers Saturday night at the Highlight Factory. Atlanta returned home coming off their best road trip of the season and looks to build on that success with three of their next four games at home before a trip to Miami. Josh Smith scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to pace five Hawks players in double figures.
Looking at the box score this game was pretty even. The Hawks had a slight edge in field goal percentage 43% to 41%. Atlanta was 25-29 from the free throw line while Indiana was 20-23. Rebounding was pretty even with the Hawks grabbing one more board than the Pacers 44-43. Both teams turned the ball over 15 times. The real difference in this game was the disparity from beyond the arc. The Pacers shot just 5-17 from three point range while the Hawks were 11-22. Even better for Atlanta was how those three point shots were set up off of an extra pass. Routinely Atlanta dumped the ball inside, forced the defense to react and then swung the ball around the perimeter where they were able to knock down wide open shots. In the last three Hawks games that has been a common theme. The Hawks tallied 27 assists on 36 made field goals and that in itself shows how well they moved the ball.
In coach Drew's post game press conference he said that he thought his team got winded in the first half. To counteract that, the Hawks went ten deep in the first half while taking a 55-50 lead at the half. Drew challenged his team to come out strong in the third quarter and that is just what they did outscoring the Pacers 29-18 in the quarter while clamping down on defense. Mike Bibby and Josh Smith led the charge in the third period for the Hawks scoring 26 of the 29 Atlanta points. Bibby connected on three of four attempts from downtown and was fouled on another where he hit all three free throws. Josh Smith hit five of nine shots in the period and all three of his free throw attempts. Smith also grabbed five rebounds in the quarter. It was also at this point that Atlanta clamped down defensively limiting Indiana's leading scorer Danny Granger to just one second half basket.
Josh Smith led the way with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. Smith was 9-18 from the floor and 8-10 from the free throw line. Joe Johnson started fast scoring Atlanta's first seven points of the game. He also finished the game strong with 12 points in the fourth quarter. Joe finished 10-19 from the floor for 24 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists. Mike Bibby finished with 15 points on 4-7 shooting while Al Horford logged a double double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists of his own.
The win gives Atlanta it's fourth consecutive victory and its eighth in its last ten games. This was also the Hawks tenth consecutive victory at Philips Arena after struggling at home somewhat earlier in the season. At 25-14, Atlanta is just one half game behind Chicago for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference and just one game behind Orlando for third. If there was any bad news for Atlanta it was that Jeff Teague suffered a contusion to his hand and didn't return for the 2nd half. We will update his status as soon as information becomes available.