The Atlanta Hawks hosted the Indiana Pacers Friday evening, looking to bounce back from a tough loss Wednesday night in Chicago at the hands (hooves) of the Bulls as they inch closer to the return of John Collins on Dec. 23 against the Cavaliers.
The opening moments were closely contested, as the score was tied at 17 with under 4:30 remaining in the first.
The Pacers went on a 5-0 in the next minute and change, prompting a timeout from Lloyd Pierce at the 3:11 mark. The run extended to 12-2 out of the timeout, putting the Pacer lead at 29-19 late in the first. Indiana led 29-22 heading into the second quarter.
The visitors extended the lead to 41-26 with another run early in the second quarter as the Hawks got off to an 0-for-13 start from three. The Atlanta defense was no better as the Pacers were scoring at will inside throughout the second, possessing a lead upwards of 15 points for the bulk of the period.
A quick 7-2 spurt pulled the Hawks back within 12 late in the second, but ultimately the Hawks could not slow down the Pacers and trailed 63-48 at the break. Indiana had a ridiculous 44 points in the paint in the first half, illustrating the defensive issues.
On top of the interior defensive problems, the Hawks failed to make a three-pointer in the a half, something they had not done as a franchise since March of 2016.
Domantas Sabonis posted a first-half high 10 rebounds, establishing a presence inside for Indiana. T.J. Warren led Pacers scorers with 11 first-half points.
Strong play offensively from De’Andre Hunter and Jabari Parker kept the score from looking even worse, as the pair combined for 28 first half points and 12-for-18 shooting from the field.
It was an uncharacteristically quiet half for Trae Young, who scored just six points on 2-for-12 from the floor.
A 10-2 run helped pull the Hawks within nine around four minutes into the third, with Young coming to life with seven points in those four minutes. The Hawks shot 80% from the floor in the first half of the third quarter, and still trailed by 12.
The Hawks continued to score and cut it back to a ten-point game with Young’s second three of the quarter. They trailed Indiana 81-71 with 4:21 remaining in the third.
The run reached 9-0 for the Hawks as they cut the deficit to five after a three from Cam Reddish with 2:45 remaining in the third.
Moments later, Alex Len shook the earth:
The Hawks hung around and an Allen Crabbe three-pointer with three seconds left in the third cut the Indiana lead to 86-83 heading to the fourth quarter.
The Pacers inched out to a seven-point lead over the opening moments of the fourth, with the scoring slowing down a bit on each side.
An 11-4 Indiana run had the lead back up to ten before a three by Young with 6:43 remaining made it 97-90 in favor of the Pacers. Young made it a five-point game (101-96) with a floater at the 4:46 mark.
THIS MOVE FROM TRAE YOUNG pic.twitter.com/ppqIjBGjCI— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 14, 2019
The Hawks were unable to close the gap from there, failing to score in the final 2:26 and ultimately falling by a final score of 110-100.
It was a tale of two halves for Young, who finished with 17 second-half points and 23 overall (9-for-30 from the floor) to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. Hunter (21 points) and Parker (20 points) also made significant contributions, specifically in the first half when Young was more or less taken out of the game by Indiana. Alex Len finished with 11 points and a season high 13 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench.
Warren (18 points) and Malcolm Brogdon (19 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds) led the way for Indiana in the win. The Pacers finished with 68 points in the paint and 21 points off of 15 Atlanta turnovers.
The Hawks will be back in action Sunday night (6:00 pm ET) when the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James make their annual visit to State Farm Arena.