Atlanta Hawks center Pero Antic set a new career-high in points, as he dropped 18 in Sunday’s impressive blowout victory against the Indiana Pacers.
Antic’s 18 points came on 7-of-8 shooting. His only miss was on a 3-point shot midway through the third quarter on a heat-check attempt — he was a perfect 6-for-6 before he hoisted up the miss.
Antic drained three 3-pointers against the Pacers to give him 53 made 3-pointers this season, which is tied for the third-highest total for a rookie in franchise history along with sharpshooter John Jenkins, who the Hawks drafted last year in the first round. Ranking ahead of Antic are Salim Stoudamire 82 (2005-06) and Paul Graham 55 (1991-92).
The 31-year-old rookie from Macedonia was primarily a backup behind All-Star center Al Horford, but was inserted as the interim starting center when Horford went down with a season-ending pectoral injury on Dec. 26. Before Big Al got hurt, Antic only scored in double-figures once; after Horford got hurt, Antic has reached double-figures 13 times, the most recent being on Sunday when he set his new career-high.
Antic has appeared in 46 games (23 starts) this season and is averaging 7.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, while shooting 34 percent from 3-point range, 43 percent from the field overall and 78.2 percent from the foul line.
Pero has already gained major experience in his first NBA season and will gain even more when the Hawks make it to the playoffs, especially when he and Atlanta will be going up against the defending two-time champion Miami Heat in the first round.
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