The short-handed Atlanta Hawks took care off the visiting Indiana Pacers 109-100 Saturday night despite playing without three key players.
The face of the franchise Josh Smith was inactive tonight due to a hip flexor injury along with combo guard Devin Harris (sore left foot) and sharp-shooter Anthony Morrow (sore hip).
Atlanta native Lou Williams led the Hawks with 21 points and a career-high 12 assists in just his fourth start all season. Not so ironically, the Hawks are riding a four-game win streak.
Rookie 3-point assassin John Jenkins also set a career-high with 10 points in the game on four-of-six shooting overall. The first round draft pick from Vanderbilt University was 2-for-2 from long range.
Backup big man Zaza Pachulia stepped into the starting lineup tonight with Smith inactive and filled in admirably, posting a double-double performance with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Pachulia caused havic for the Pacers on both sides of the ball and finished the night shooting 7-for-11 (63.6%) overall.
Al Horford was fantastic going 10-for-13 from the field for 20 points to go along with six boards and six assists. Kyle Korver scored 16 points and was lights out from the perimeter hitting four-of-five 3-pointers in the game. Jeff Teague secured Atlanta’s win in the closing minutes by scoring eight of the Hawks’ final 12 points. Teague totaled 15 points, six assists and three rebounds — he scored 10 in the final four minutes of regulation.
The Pacers were leading 16-13 with 5:13 to play in the opening quarter and then the Hawks exploded on a 16-4 run as they started to knock down seemingly every shot they took en route to a 29-20 advantage by the 1:59 mark. Atlanta ended the first period up 33-26 as the team shot 66.7% from the field.
Indiana dwindled the deficit down to 40-37 after Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson set up Ian Mahinmi for a 18-ft bucket. However, they couldn’t come any closer in the second quarter as the Hawks took a 55-48 advantage into halftime.
Atlanta kept their foot on the gas coming out of the locker room and extended their lead to 80-73 by the end of the third quarter.
The Pacers seemed to be on the verge of mounting a comeback when Paul George’s conventional three-point play capped off an 18-8 spurt in the final period, bringing Indiana within three points, 91-88, at the 5:18 mark.
But the Pacers couldn’t get over the hump.
On the next possession, Horford hit a 17-footer to cool off Indiana’s run and Teague’s floater at the 2:53 mark put the Hawks up 101-90. Teague scored 10 of Atlanta’s final 16 points down the stretch to secure the victory.
David West led Indiana with a game-high 29 points in 32 minutes. Paul George had a solid game, narrowly missing a triple-double performace with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. George Hill (15), Lance Stephenson (13) and Ian Mahinmi (13) were also in double figures.
The Indiana Pacers (17-13) head back home to host the Memphis Grizzlies (19-8) on Monday, Dec. 31, at 3:00 PM (ET).
The Atlanta Hawks (19-9) go on the road to face the Houston Rockets (16-14) on Monday, Dec. 31, at 7:00 PM (ET).