The Atlanta Hawks showed Wednesday night that they still have a few surprises in their bag. After looking dead in the water during a three-game losing streak, the Hawks came up with a spirited effort in a 97-87 win over the Indiana Pacers. Atlanta led wire-to-wire and by as many as 25 points. When the Pacers made their inevitable run the Hawks didn't flinch and closed out a much needed victory.
I talked about what was missing from Atlanta's offense earlier this week and a lot of that returned Wednesday night. They played with a faster pace, moved without the ball and most importantly knocked down some shots early to settle into a rhythm. The Hawks were much more active defensively and scored 21 points off of 20 Indiana turnovers.
The Hawks set the tone early jumping out to a 25-12 lead after one. They extended the lead to 17 at halftime and then led by as much as 25 in the third before Paul George went to work. A 14-2 run by the Pacers late in the third closed the gap to just 11. Indiana continued to threaten but Atlanta got key buckets from Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague to hold them off and grab the victory.
Korver led five different Hawks players in double figures with 17 points on an incredibly efficient 6-8 shooting. Pero Antic scored eight of his 16 in the first quarter to help get Atlanta off to a good start. Jeff Teague added 15 points and six assists while Mike Scott chipped in 15 of his own off the bench. DeMarre Carroll finished with 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. The Hawks win despite another tough night by Paul Millsap who finished with just four points on 1-10 shooting.
George scored 21 of his game-high 28 points in the second half. Danny Granger added 14 points while George Hill finished with 10.
Atlanta wins despite being out rebounded by a 46-34 margin. Indiana grabbed 14 offensive rebounds but the Hawks did a great job holding them to just seven second-chance points.
The Hawks improve to 19-17 with the win and are back in action on Friday when they host the Houston Rockets.