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Hawks blitzed by Pacers, unable to complete comeback in 116-112 loss

NBA: Preseason-Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks entered Gainbridge Fieldhouse down Trae Young, Dejounte Murray and Clint Capela. They faced off against a seemingly full Pacers squad outside of Andrew Nembhard.

The Hawks and Pacers went back and forth in the early offing, with both teams sharing moments of productive offense in the first quarter.

Jalen Johnson continued his impressive preseason with a nice drive for a layup and this nice lob finish from Kobe Bufkin below:

Once the bench came in for both teams, the game largely ground to a halt, however. Two separate coaching reviews didn’t help either. There was, however, this nifty AJ Griffin step back to celebrate:

After one quarter, the Hawks led 31-30 behind Jalen Johnson’s four points and two assists and De’Andre Hunter’s seven points in his return.

The second quarter was different, however, as Atlanta was bombarded by Indiana’s burst of three-point shooting. With the Hawks struggling to get matched up quickly, the Pacers diced the defense apart with quick movement and shooting primarily from the right corner.

Saddiq Bey, however, did his part to keep the Hawks afloat with 12 first half points. But the Hawks never did enough to prevent the Pacers from running up a double-digit lead by the midway point of the second quarter.

The onslaught continued, with the Pacers pushing to a 27-point lead by the merciful end of the half. It was a certifiable laugher by the time the halftime buzzer sounded, and the only respite is that the tape will be kept in the preseason annals and not the regular season annals. As a team, the Hawks countered Pacers’ 58/41/75 triple slash shooting from the field, three, and the free throw line respectively with an ugly 40/25/75 triple slash.

Despite coming out of the break with the starting lineup that began the game, the Hawks didn’t see their fortunes immediately change in the third quarter. But by late in the quarter, the Hawks mounted a decent comeback behind much better long-range shooting and important bench production.

That trend continued into the fourth quarter, as AJ Griffin took control of the proceedings with plays on both ends of the court:

The Hawks worked a one-time 27-point deficit down to seven just 14 minutes into the second half. But as the deep bench came in, Indiana was able to push the lead into safe double-digit territory again meaning Kobe Bufkin, Mouhamed Gueye, and company now had a tall task on their hands.

After a 4-point play from a Garrison Mathews three and simultaneous foul on Bruno Fernando, the Hawks had pulled to within six points. Later, the Hawks sliced the lead to just four points on two separate occasions, but they never quite got the contest to a one-possession game at any point in the fourth quarter.

As the Hawks never quite wrested the lead away from Indiana, they had to settle for a moral victory. Still, the better showing in the second half meant a respectable 116-112 loss to Indiana instead of a blowout.

AJ Griffin finished with 15 points on just 10 shots in a bounce back game. Saddiq Bey also poured in 21 points on 10 shots off the bench. Atlanta will now round out their preseason schedule on Friday at the Philadelphia 76ers.