The Hawks made their way to Bankers Life Fieldhouse Friday night for their final matchup with the Indiana Pacers this season. The Hawks came away with a close win in their last game against the Pacers last week and were looking to wrap up the season series on a good note tonight.
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 second 10-day contract recently, is also still out rehabbing from ankle surgery, but did participate in pregame shootaround. Malcolm Delaney was also out once again as he continues to rehab a left ankle sprain suffered in the game against the Suns recently.
The Hawks transferred their two-way players Andrew White III and Josh Magette back to Atlanta from the Erie Bayhawks for tonight’s game.
The Hawks wasted no time getting on the scoreboard to open the game as Dewayne Dedmon canned a midrange jumper, a shot he’s really worked on developing this season. The Pacers came right back with a three-pointer from Cory Joseph and things began to go all downhill from there for the visitors. The Hawks struggled to score for the first half of the quarter with most all their offense coming from Dedmon and rookie John Collins. Meanwhile, the Pacers had no problem scoring at all as Joseph began to pick apart the Hawks’ bad defense. Things really began to get out of hand when Myles Turner and Joseph combined to hit three three-pointers on consecutive possessions as the Hawks had no answer for the Pacers long range shooting. This all culminated into Darren Collison hitting a ridiculous turnaround three at the first quarter buzzer to put the Pacers up 34-15 after the first, confirming that it just was not the Hawks night.
Atlanta got some slightly more consistent offense rolling in the second as Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder were able to get to the rim for easy layups. Collins then gave Atlanta fans something to cheer about with a rim-rattling reverse jam to bring the Hawks slightly closer (see below). The Hawks continued to depend on Collins and Dedmon for scoring midway through the second quarter and got some good-looking shots around the basket that kept the Pacers from running Atlanta out of the building. Indiana did not have a good second quarter offensively only scoring 19 points to the Hawks 22 in the quarter. The first quarter effects were still felt by Atlanta though as Indiana carried a 53-37 lead into halftime.
The Pacers must have gotten a resounding speech from their coach on the lackluster offense displayed in the second quarter as they came out on fire in the third, opening the period with a three from Victor Oladipo and never looking back. It is also interesting to note that Taurean Prince was replaced to start the third quarter with Jaylen Morris and did not enter the game in the second half.
Schroder attempted to spark a run with four straight points, but the Hawks had no answer for Oladipo. The Hawks finally decided to wave the white flag midway through the third, inserting their third-string lineup after going down by 30. Josh Magette and Morris came in with a chance to display their talents and really did a fine job as Magette racked up three assists within his first three minutes and Morris knocked down a three-pointer. Andrew White, the Hawks other two-way player, also made an appearance but did not scratch in the quarter. Tyler Dorsey hit two good looking three pointers off the bounce at the end of the quarter, but it was all Pacers after three, 87-63.
The Hawks played solidly in the beginning of the fourth quarter as Dorsey continued to burn the Pacers, totaling 12 points in the first four minutes of the quarter. Trevor Booker gave his best impersonation of Reggie Miller, hitting nearly every three-pointer he took. White finally got on the board for Atlanta with a catch-and-shoot three that cut the Pacers lead to 20, helping the Hawks to do some garbage time cleanup after three quarters of destruction by the main Pacers rotation. Atlanta limped through the final minutes in a game that was decided in the first five minutes of action.
Tyler Dorsey was one of the few positives in a night where the Hawks looked downright awful as he posted 18 points in 24 minutes of action.