David West had 12 points in the fourth quarter and led the Indiana Pacers on a 16-4 run to finish the game and survive another day by winning Game 6 at Atlanta and forcing a seventh-and-final game as the Hawks faltered down the stretch, letting an amazing upset opportunity slip away as they lost 95-88 at home on Thursday night.
Atlanta was up 84-79 with just over three minutes left in the game but then fell apart as their next seven possessions resulted in four missed shots, two turnovers and one trip to the free-throw line that netted only one point.
Lou Williams committed the costliest turnover of the game as he threw a pass right into the outstretched arms of Pacers small forward Paul George with the Hawks trailing 87-85 and 34 seconds remaining. Williams was driving the baseline and tried to get off a pass before he stepped out of bounds but wound up throwing it right to George, who then got fouled and went to the free throw line where he made both foul shots to take a four-point lead.
The turning point came one possession prior, when West hit a tough one-handed floater in the lane over Paul Millsap to break a tied score and put the Pacers up 87-85 with 44 seconds to go. From that point Indiana did not relinquish the lead and hit free throws down the stretch to win Game 6 and tie the best-of-seven series at 3-3, delaying a first-round upset from an eight seed with a below .500 regular-season record for at least one more day.
George and West led the Pacers with 24 points apiece, while Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson added a quiet 21 points and nine rebounds. George Hill (14) was also in double-figures. Roy Hibbert again was a non-factor, playing only 12 minutes and finished with zero points and two rebounds.
Jeff Teague paced Atlanta with a game-high 29 points.
Lou Williams chipped in with 12 points off the bench.
Paul Millsap added 16 points and a monstrous 18 rebounds but struggled with his shot the entire game and finished 4-of-13 from the field. He got most of his points from the free shots, making seven-of-eight attempts.
It wasn’t just Millsap who struggled with his shot, however for Atlanta — it was the whole team.
The Hawks launched 35 three-pointers in the game and only made nine, which accounts for a 25.7 shooting percentage from deep. Overall, they weren’t much better as they finished just under 36 percent (29-of-81) from the field for the game.
The Pacers didn’t shoot that much better, but their marks of 30 percent from 3-point range and 43 percent from the field overall were good enough to get by the Hawks.
Game 7 will be played on Saturday at Indiana.