David West, Paul George help put stop to Pacers’ woes in Atlanta
February 4th, 2014 (AP) – It’s over. This time, the Indiana Pacers had a successful regular-season trip to Atlanta.
David West scored 22 points, Paul George added 18 and the NBA-leading Pacers beat the Hawks 89-85 on Tuesday night.
“This has been a tough place for us, but I thought we came in with the right motivation tonight,” West said. “They blitzed us the last time we were down here.”
The Pacers’ most recent win in Atlanta came last May in the clinching Game 6 of their first-round playoff series. But Indiana (38-10) had dropped its last 12 regular-season games at the Hawks, including a 97-87 decision on Jan. 8.
“I don’t have to answer questions about it anymore, so that’s good,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “We’ve had some struggles here, but it’s not anything we were losing sleep over.”
Atlanta (25-22) failed to place a starter in double figures. It had won two straight and five of seven.
Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver had nine points apiece for the Hawks. All-Star forward Paul Millsap went 2 for 11 from the field and finished with seven points.
Teague made a 3-pointer to give Atlanta a 41-35 lead with 1:06 left in the second quarter, but the Hawks were outscored 38-16 over the next 17 minutes.
Cartier Martin’s 3 cut Indiana’s lead to 86-84 with 14.9 seconds left. C.J. Watson and Danny Granger then combined for three free throws to help the Pacers hold on for the win.
“Offensively, it just wasn’t one of our better nights,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I think you have to give Indiana and their defense credit for that.”
Elton Brand, a 14-year veteran, had 12 points and was the only Hawk to score in double figures before Mike Scott scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Scott said it’s no surprise that Atlanta’s offense couldn’t get much going against a defense that holds opponents to just 90.2 points a game, lowest in the NBA.
“They’re very good,” Scott said. “That’s why they’re the best team in the league defensively. We just missed open shots and couldn’t get it in.”
The Pacers had not won in the regular season at Philips Arena since Dec. 22, 2006.
“I thought our resolve took over,” West said. “We were really precise with our movement and what we wanted to do. And we made plays when we needed to make plays.”
Ian Mahinmi gave Indiana its biggest lead of the game with a tip-in that made it 73-57 with 8:10 left.
Pacers guard Lance Stephenson hit the floor hard on a layup at the 7:56 mark of the third, falling over Millsap in the lane and landing on his left shoulder and hip.
Stephenson then converted the three-point play to make it 55-47, but he sat out the last 16 minutes.
George stole the ball from rookie point guard Dennis Schroder late in the fourth and scored a fast-break layup to make it 82-74.
“Our guys buckled down on the defensive end,” Vogel said. “(Atlanta) made a few shots in the last minute or two, but for the most part we held a pretty explosive team down to 85 points. That’s a pretty good effort.”
*Photo courtesy of AP Photo/John Bazemore