The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Sports

May 2, 2013

Pacers rebound with 106-83 rout of Hawks in Game 5

INDIANAPOLIS — Frank Vogel made a few simple lineup adjustments and a strong pregame pitch. It was just what the Pacers needed Wednesday night.

Indiana played more physical and more focused basketball than Atlanta, and for the first time in this best-of-seven series played defense the way Vogel has been coaching it all season. Against all that, Atlanta never had a chance.

Veteran David West broke out of a series-long funk to score 24 points, Paul George finished with another double-double and Indiana pulled away for a 106-83 victory to take a 3-2 lead over the Hawks.

“We needed to re-establish our confidence,” said Vogel, the Pacers coach. “We’re still a young team. We needed to re-establish our ability to slow them down.”

Indiana did that and a whole lot more on a night in which it was virtually flawless.

West looked like his old self backing down defenders, then spinning away to hit his trademark step-back shots. George made 7 of 8 shots from the field, finishing with 10 rebounds and five assists — another strong showing in a series he’s dominated in Indiana’s three wins.

Vogel changed the rotations, keeping some starters with the second unit to add scoring punch. And after posting the best defensive field goal percentage in the NBA this season, the Pacers finally managed to hold Atlanta under 50 percent shooting.

The blowout, Indiana’s third straight at home in the playoffs, even allowed the starters to get a few extra minutes of rest.

If the Pacers end a 13-game losing streak at Atlanta on Friday, they would win this best-of-seven series and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second straight year. Thanks to Boston, they might not even go into the next series at a substantial disadvantage after the Celtics closed to 3-2 with a stunning 92-86 win at New York.

A few days ago, Indiana didn’t dare contemplate such a possibility with so much at stake against the Hawks. Now, suddenly, everything seems OK, though the home team has won every game.

“It’s the playoffs. It’s good that both teams know how important it is to get home victories,” George said. “In the playoffs, it’s all about what team is going to be dominant on the road. Neither team has really done that yet.”

The Hawks were the latest victim of the home-court curse on another ugly night at Indiana.

They made only four baskets during a 57-minute decisive third quarter.

Josh Smith picked up his fifth foul with 7:35 left in the third quarter and was nonfactor the rest of the way. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Al Horford added 14 points and Devin Harris had 13.

Three players — Smith, Jeff Teague and Ivan Johnson — drew technical fouls, all on dead balls. Atlanta was called for two more technicals because of defensive 3-second violations, got outrebounded 51-28 and still had to hear Indiana fans complain that the Pacers weren’t doing enough on the glass, and were outscored 36-28 in the paint.

The worst part: After losing the lead on a layup by West with 6:36 to play in the second quarter, the Hawks never mounted another serious charge. They headed home again looking for answers.

“We have to pound the ball in there to Al and Smooth (Smith) and when we get the opportunity to get in the lane try to make plays,” Teague said when asked what the Hawks must do better. “We just have to shoot the ball better, me personally.”

That much was obvious after Wednesday’s 25-of-75 performance.

But the Hawks also must figure out a way to contend with the physical Pacers, too.

“This is the first time that I felt like we’ve played true defense in this series,” West said. “I thought everyone came in and stayed with the game plan in terms of being aggressive, and our hands were active and we just made plays on the defensive end.”

West scored the last six points in an 8-0 run that turned a 31-28 deficit into a 36-31 Pacers lead early in the second quarter. Indiana followed that with a 9-4 spurt to make it 45-37.

Then the rout was on.

Indiana opened the second half on a 12-3 run and extended the lead to 68-48 when George knocked down a 3 and George Hill followed that by hitting the free throw for Smith’s technical and a 19-footer on the ensuing possession. Atlanta cut the lead to 81-67 at the end of three, but the Pacers put it away with a 12-4 fourth-quarter run that left Atlanta in a 21-point deficit. The Hawks never challenged again.

“I was just dialed in and focused; I really wanted this one tonight,” George said. “I’m going to have the same focus on the road.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT - HB0731 - Colts Camp - Werner - 319 Werner's progress evident at Colts Camp

    Bjoern Werner's rookie training camp was rather quiet. The German-born outside linebacker went through individual drills and worked hard in full-team sessions, but he was overwhelmed by all the new information he was processing. And it was holding him back. When the season started, Werner was further set back by a foot injury that cost him three games, and he finished the year with just 2.5 sacks. Then the former Florida State star went to work.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • HB0724 _ Teverbaugh mug Rick Teverbaugh: Some folks can't be replaced There were a lot of possible topics as I decided what would lead the list of things that would move me enough to compose today's column.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0731 - Colts Corner - HB Colts Notes: Thomas, Hilton hurt in Wednesday's practice After a physical practice Wednesday afternoon at Anderson University, the Indianapolis Colts are hoping they have not lost another starter. Left guard Donald Thomas hit the ground following an 11-on-11 running drill and was visibly upset when he finally was helped to his feet. He threw his mouthguard away in anger and attempted to walk off the injury with trainers away from the rest of his teammates.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0731 - Colts Camp - Fleener - 206 Colts focusing on situational improvement One year ago, the focus in Indianapolis Colts training camp was on turnovers. The team had committed far too many in 2012 and was determined not to repeat its mistakes. The theme at Anderson University carried over to the field, and the Colts' 14 turnovers were the fewest in the NFL last year.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0730 - Colts recap art 1 Looking back at Week 1 of Colts Camp

    The first week of Indianapolis Colts training camp has ended at Anderson University, and the players received their first day off Tuesday. Practice resumes today with the daily morning walkthrough followed by a public session scheduled to begin at 1:50 p.m. With the team's preseason debut at the New York Jets just eight days away, here's a look at three things that have stood out since the Colts hit campus on July 23.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPL - PT072314 - PT Ken de la Bastide column - column sig Ken de la Bastide: Good racing across the board

    This past weekend I got to witness four pretty good races at three different venues in central Indiana, none of them disappointed.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0729 - Andrew Luck - JC 4.JPG Colts Quick Hits: Tuesday, July 29

    Notes,news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University on Monday.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0729 - Colt Anderson - JC 2 Anderson hopes to make name with Colts

    Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was the first person Colt Anderson saw upon reporting to Anderson University last Wednesday. And he couldn't resist making the obvious connection. "Colt Anderson's a Colt ... in Anderson," Manusky said as a way of greeting the new Indianapolis Colts safety to training camp.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0729 - Chris Rainey - DK Colts release RB Rainey

    Just two days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning. The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later confirmed by Pagano during an afternoon session with the media.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0729 - Andrew Luck - JC 1 Luck still learning

    Wind chill estimates put the temperature at 59 degrees Monday morning at Anderson University. During one stretch of his fifth training camp practice of the year, however, it likely felt much colder to Andrew Luck.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

Latest Sports Photos


Click here to browse and buy photos from The Herald Bulletin

Latest Racing News