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Hawks hold off Pacers rally behind strong backcourt play, 116-111

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NBA: Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks traveled back south for a matchup with the Indiana Pacers after a heartbreaking loss to the Boston Celtics in New England Friday night. John Collins (back contusion) was out after the nasty collision last night with Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.

Cam Reddish (wrist) and Jabari Parker (illness) were also unavailable Saturday for head coach Lloyd Pierce.

The Hawks got out to a 14-6 lead in the early moments, with Trae Young scoring six straight points leading to a Pacer timeout at the 7:35 mark.

The lead grew to 20-9 with an extended 12-3 run as Indiana struggled to generate much of anything on the offensive end.

The run was extended again to 21-5 to put the home team up 35-14 with 2:19 remaining in the first. The Hawks finished the quarter with 43 points and a 17-point lead, with Young scoring 18 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting from the floor. It marked only the second time this season that the Hawks scored 40 points in the first quarter, and the fourth time they had scored 40 in a quarter altogether.

The Pacers cut it back to a ten-point game near the midway point of the second, as the Hawks offense slowed down with Young on the bench to start the period.

Young checked back into the game, hitting two more three-pointers as well as a pair of free throws and a floater, putting him at 28 points and a ridiculous 9-for-9 from the floor (5-for-5 from three) with under four minutes to go in the first half.

An 11-0 Indiana run put them within four under the 2:00 mark in the first half. Young finished the half with 30 points, a career high for any half for the second-year star. However, the Pacers closed the half with all of the momentum, trailing just 64-60 after trailing by as many as 22 in the first quarter.

Justin Holiday led the Pacers with 16 points in the the half while Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and six rebounds.

Indiana came out of the half on an 10-2 run to take a 70-66 lead in the early moments of the third. The Hawks fought back however as the teams exchanged leads in the middle of the third.

The Pacers called timeout with an 89-85 lead with 2:51 left in the third with Young going to the line. He would make both to cut it to two, giving him 36 points.

The Hawks closed the quarter strong behind Kevin Huerter, who hit a three to give the Hawks the lead late in the third.

Huerter was rolling, specifically in the third quarter. He had 23 points heading to the fourth, which was already a season high.

After a strong start to the fourth (without Young, impressively), the Hawks lead 105-101 at the 8:13 mark with their star still resting.

The Hawks led 109-107 with 3:15 remaining when T.J. Warren fouled Alex Len, sending him to the line. Len made both, putting the Hawks up four.

Young hit a layup with 1:20 to go to the put the Hawks up 113-109.

The Pacers cut it back to 113-110 after split free throws from Aaron Holiday. After an empty Hawks possession, the Pacers had a shot to tie with down three with 19.8 seconds to play. Warren was fouled with 4.5 to play, splitting the free throws and cutting it to 113-111. Timeout Hawks, still 4.5 seconds to go.

Young was fouled on the ensuing inbound and split the free throws, giving the Pacers life as it remained a one possession game at 114-111. The Pacers committed a lose ball foul on a wild full court inbounds pass and Young hit both free throws this time, icing the game as the Hawks won 116-111.

Young finished with 41 points and eight assists in the win. Huerter had a season high 26 points to go along with five assists and six rebounds. Len scored 16 points to go along with nine rebounds in solid work off the bench.

Sabonis scored 25 points to go along with 11 rebounds and four assists while Warren had 17points and seven rebounds.

The Hawks will be back in action Monday night at home against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.