Kevin C. Cox
The Hawks fell behind 14 midway through the fourth quarter, but made a furious comeback behind Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague on offense and great defense that limited Indiana to nine fourth quarter points.
The Hawks were able to pull out a back-and-forth affair that saw seven lead changes and 10 ties. The Hawks fell behind after the first quarter 25-22, but came back strong in the second quarter behind a great performance from the second unit that out-scored the Pacers bench 17-9 in the second. Atlanta, who stretched the lead to 10 at one point, allowed the Pacers to catch back up. At the half the Hawks led 51-50, as both teams struggled defensively and excelled offensively.
The third quarter featured a Hawks meltdown in which they were outscored 27-14 and both Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia were hit with technical fouls for arguing with officials. Atlanta had no answer for George Hill in the quarter, who had 10 points. Atlanta's mental meltdown continued as the Hawks turned the ball over six times allowing 11 points off turnovers. Kyle Korver exemplified the Hawks struggles through the first three quarters hitting just 2-of-7 shots and was 1-of-6 from three-point range, missing open look after open look.
The fourth quarter started as the third quarter ended, with the Hawks struggling offensively and Atlanta was down 14 with 6:34 to play. The Hawks took a timeout at the 5:45 mark and Larry Drew gave his team the message to stay calm and not panic. Atlanta did just that, going on an 18-0 run from the 6:43 mark to the 0:32.7 mark. The Hawks flipped into a zone that caused a lot of problems for the Pacers, who began turning the ball over and taking contested jump shots rather than getting the ball down low and taking advantage of their size.
Kyle Korver caught fire and hit a pair of big threes and a mid-range jumper to help jump start the Hawks offense. Jeff Teague closed the game out with nine points in the fourth and hit the three-pointer that pulled the Hawks ahead for good with 1:04 to play. The Hawks scored on their final three possessions to close the game out and forced a contested, long three from Paul George on the final possession to get the three point win.
Atlanta out-rebounded one of the best rebounding teams in the league 51-41 (17-11 offensive), and held Roy Hibbert to a modest nine points and seven boards. David West and George Hill had big games for the Pacers scoring 20 a piece, but the two combined for just two points in the fourth quarter. Atlanta got contributions from the whole team in the win. Al Horford led the Hawks in scoring with 16 points and added nine rebounds, while Josh Smith, who struggled from the field, led the team with seven assists, and Zaza Pachulia had 14 huge rebounds.