Different city. Different game.
Much different result.
The Hawks returned home and got back in their playoff series with the Pacers in a big way with an impressive 90-69 victory Saturday night at Philips Arena. The Hawks now trail the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series 2-1 after the Pacers opened with two home wins.
Faced with the prospect of losing the first three games, a deficit from which no team in NBA history has recovered, the Hawks led by as many as 28 points in the rout. Game 4 will be played Monday. The victory also forces a Game 5 in Indiana.
“Indiana defended their home court,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said before the game. “Now we are home, and we are going to defend ours.”
Did they ever.
Al Horford led the Hawks with a game-high 26 points and 16 rebounds, his 16th career playoff double-double. Josh Smith added 14 points, and Jeff Teague scored 13.
Smith, despite picking up three quick fouls to start the second half, defended Pacers All-Star Paul George much of the game.
George finished with 16 points. David West scored 18.
“We are going to have to set the tempo of the game,” Horford said before the contest. “We have been playing their style of game, and that has to change. … Here at home, we look to push the ball and be more aggressive. In transition, we have to be better.”
The Hawks took a 54-30 lead into intermission after an up-tempo first half.
After trailing 8-1 to start the game, the Hawks went on a 42-10 run between the first and second quarters and led by 25 points, 43-18. The domination included a 22-2 run. The Pacers went 4:57 without scoring in a stretch to end the first and start the second quarter.
The Pacers shot only 23.8 percent (10-of-42) and had 12 turnovers in the first half. The Hawks shot 50 percent (22-of-44), with Smith and Horford scoring 12 points each.
The 30 points scored by the Pacers is the lowest point total given up in a first half in Hawks playoff history.