Nothing seemed to go right for the Indiana Pacers Saturday night in Atlanta as they fell to the Atlanta Hawks 90-69 in Game Three. The Pacers still lead the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs 2-1.
The crowd in Atlanta didn't show up until midway through the first quarter. That's about when the Hawks arrived, and pounded the Pacers.
The Pacers had an 8-1 lead, but then the Hawks took off, outscoring the Pacers 32-6. Atlanta led by 24 at the half, and by as many as 28 points during the game and cruised to a 90-69 win. Al Horford records playoff career highs of 26 points and 16 rebounds.
After recording only 24 turnovers in the first two games, the Pacers turned it over 22 times on Saturday night.
Bad shots and poor defense plagued the Pacers, while Atlanta was able to break down major game long runs into separate mini runs. The Hawks outmuscled the young team from Indiana on both ends while holding on to a lead that frequently exceeded 20 points.
The Pacers get a chance to redeem themselves and prove their mettle on the road again Monday night at 7:30 pm for Game Four.
The Atlanta Hawks made an expected lineup change, going with 7-footer Johan Petro at center. The idea was to play tougher defense against the more physical Pacers. By moving Petro into the lineup on Saturday night, the Hawks were able to shift Al Horford to power forward and Josh Smith to small forward.
David West says he didn't think the game was very physical but his flagrant foul on Horford in the second-quarter clearly showed the Pacers' frustration.
Roy Hibbert characterized the team's performance as "soft." That's hard to argue. The Hawks scored 50 points in the paint to the Pacers' 30. The blue and gold shoot only 27% from the field and 16% from three. Only David West and Paul George hit double figures for the pacer starters. West had 18 points and George had 16.
The Pacers return to practice on Sunday afternoon. See more live coverage from Atlanta coming up on Sunday evening on Eyewitness News at 6:00 pm and on the 13 Sports Jam.