The Indiana Pacers were in town Wednesday night to face off against the Atlanta Hawks in a rematch of last Friday’s game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Hawks have been struggling of late, to say the least, and the Pacers have been playing some great basketball so it was up to the Hawks to come out swinging.
Atlanta’s inactives for Friday’s game included DeAndre Bembry who simply cannot catch a break this season when it comes to staying healthy. Antonius Cleveland whom the Hawks signed to a 10-day contract recently is also still out rehabbing from ankle surgery, but did participate in pregame shootaround.
The Hawks transferred their two-way players Andrew White III and Josh Magette back to the Erie Bayhawks. The team also signed Jaylen Morris to a 10-day contract out of Erie earlier today.
Come out swinging is exactly what the Hawks did. The Hawks especially got great play from Taurean Prince and Dewayne Dedmon who both came out with back to back threes. The Pacers stayed with the Hawks using their own big men from beyond the arc as Miles Turner and Thaddeus Young knocked down consecutive threes to counter.
Atlanta stayed aggressive with Taurean Prince forcing the action hitting another three pointer trying to set the tone. Dewayne Dedmon finished a great lob from (you guessed it) Taurean Prince and the Pacers turned to Victor Oladipo who responded with a few good drives. Joe Young came in the game and hit back to back threes to erase most of Atlanta’s good defensive work at the end of the quarter as Atlanta carried a one point lead into the second up 28-27.
Atlanta continued to play well as Tyler Dorsey connected with Miles Plumlee to open the second with a dunk. Prince continued to be aggressive crossing his way to the basket to get some easy layups.
For the Pacers, it was entirely Victor Oladipo that kept them in the game as he hit jump shot after jump shot to keep Indiana close. Malcolm Delaney made his first appearance for the Hawks after missing some time rehabbing a knee injury and was good against the always entertaining Lance Stephenson on the defensive end.
Dewayne Dedmon re-entered and nailed yet another three as he and Taurean Prince combined for 28 points in the first half, going 6-6 from three combined. It was the Mike Muscala show to close the second and the Hawks took a nice lead into the locker room at 55-50.
John Collins opened the third with a bang, throwing down a vicious alley-oop and the Hawks began to roll all over the Pacers. Kent Bazemore got into the scorebook with a nice drive and finish at the rim before pulling up for a jump shot on the next possession. John Collins later got another easy dunk after a great pass from Taurean Prince who was having a great night that the Hawks needed from him big time.
Dennis Schroder and Tyler Dorsey continued to pile onto Indiana with back to back three pointers and the Pacers were in real trouble coming down the stretch. Domantas Sabonis was working hard in the paint to keep Indiana within shouting distance but a 30-15 quarter in favor of the Hawks had Atlanta up by 20 going into the fourth, 85-65.
Isaiah Taylor obviously did not want to lose, as he reeled off seven points to open the quarter, holding the Pacers at bay. Indiana would not go quietly, though, as Lance Stephenson went to work hitting a quick three and then set up Bojan Bogdanovic from three to inch the Pacers closer.
Atlanta began to turn the ball over, giving Stephenson a transition layup and then another easy layup for Bogdanovic that got Indiana within 12. Bogdanovic continued to torch Atlanta in the fourth hitting a corner three to get Indiana ever closer.
Things really began to heat up after Victor Oladipo got involved hitting a jumper to get the game into single digits after the Hawks once led by 23. Bogdanovic was simply impossible to guard in the fourth as he continued to knock down every three pointer he took. On cue, Dennis Schroder gave a spirited effort with three layups in the final two minutes to give the Hawks the win in a game they tried to give away.
The Hawks will be back in action Friday against the Warriors in what should be a very interesting affair. Stay tuned.