The Atlanta Hawks battled hard, but fell just short in an 89-85 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. After falling behind by as many as 16 points in the 4th quarter, the Hawks climbed back within 2 in the closing moments behind a big push from the second-unit, but when the Pacers knocked down their free throws down the stretch, they were able to close out the 4-point decision.
Mike Scott led all Atlanta scorers with 15 points on 4-for-8 shooting, and it was the 12th consecutive game for Scott in which he achieved double-digits in scoring. In support of Scott on the bench was Elton Brand, who nearly kept the Hawks in the game single-handedly with a huge second half, and the veteran big man finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks in just over 20 minutes of court time.
The starters weren't quite as fortunate, however, as they struggled for the majority of the night on the offensive end. Paul Millsap produced a nice, stat-stuffing effort with 12 rebounds and 4 steals, but the All-Star power forward had a rough shooting night, finishing just 2-for-11 from the floor. All five starters scored 6-or-more points for the Hawks, but only Jeff Teague managed to hit on 50% of his shots (4-for-8), and the offense was certainly the weakest point against the defensive-oriented Pacers.
In the end, the Hawks were let down by two significant stretches of offensive futility. Atlanta missed 11 consecutive field goal attempts between the end of the 1st quarter and the beginning of the second, and during that dry spell, Indiana was able to push ahead on a 11-0 run to build their lead to 7 points. After hafltime, the Hawks became stagnant once again in the 3rd quarter, scoring only 12 points on 30% shooting (including 0-for-5 from three-point distance), and without the aforementioned burst from Elton Brand, things would have been even uglier.
The Hawks will return to action on quick turnaround, as they depart Atlanta late Tuesday night before taking the floor against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.