After a home win on Monday, the Atlanta Hawks enjoyed a seemingly favorable situation for Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. While the visitors were favored to win based on their impressive recent track record, Atlanta had the comfort of home on their side and, for 24 minutes, optimism looked warranted. Then, the bottom fell out and the final result was a 105-95 loss in front of the Philips Arena crowd.
The opening minutes were kind to the Hawks once again, as Atlanta used a 9-2 run to take a 13-7 lead. That stretch featured two dunks from Miles Plumlee and the home team soon extended the advantage to as many as nine points.
From there, though, the rest of the first half settled into an odd, back-and-forth pace. Atlanta’s lead evaporated before the end of the first quarter and the second was filled with strong offense (and/or questionable defense) on both sides despite a wildly slow pace of play.
By halftime, the Hawks trailed by a score of 53-51 and it was a defensive rating of 117.8 that really bludgeoned Atlanta in some ways. There were positives, including an 8-point, 6-assist, 0-turnover half from Dennis Schröder, but it also came with an empty feeling of giving away an opportunity to grab control of the contest given the way the evening began.
That feeling was magnified in the early portion of the third quarter, as the offense scuffled to the tune of five points in the first five minutes. Things did stabilize after that but the damage was done and the Hawks languished with a deficit throughout the period.
On the bright side, John Collins did John Collins stuff.
Anotha one pic.twitter.com/hSV5zvXZKF— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) December 21, 2017
The closing period wasn’t any kinder than the third, though, and that spelled doom for the Hawks. Indiana quickly pushed the margin to double-figures and, with a Victor Oladipo three at the six-minute mark, Atlanta was trailing by 15 and would never fully recover. By the end of the evening, it was a 10-point loss and one that was doomed by poor play after halftime.
John Collins was the individual story for the Hawks, scoring 18 points (on 6 of 7 shooting) and grabbing nine rebounds in 26 minutes of play. Aside from that, however, there were not any singularly tremendous performances and, as a team, Atlanta allowed the Pacers to score at a rate of 116.9 points per 100 possessions, which won’t get it done on most nights.
The Hawks will take to the road for their next contest, as the Oklahoma City Thunder play host on Friday evening. Stay tuned.