Josh Smith scored 29 points, Kyle Korver added 19, and the Hawks pulled even with the Pacers at two games apiece in the Eastern Conference First Round.
Atlanta took a 22-21 point lead on a last-second, coast-to-coast bucket by Devin Harris (8 pts) to end the first quarter and never looked back.
The Hawks jumped out to a 57-40 halftime lead, but saw that slip away in the third when they were outscored by the Pacers 22-12.
“We became our worst enemy,” commented Head Coach Larry Drew.
But the Pacers never got any closer than four.
Outscoring the Pacers 32-29 in the fourth, the Hawks kept their cool, and used a raucous Philips Arena crowd to take back momentum, before closing out the game from the free throw line.
It was only fitting that the Hawks closed out the game on the line as they attempted 38 shots from the stripe, converting on 25 of those. On the flip side, the Hawks defense only allowed the Pacers 25 total opportunities from the line and they converted on 20 of them.
Smith did not enjoy a great shooting night, as he was just 9-20 from the field, but he found the bottom of the net when his team needed him most, hitting a three with just over three minutes to play to put the Hawks up eight, and slamming the ball home on a fast break with 1:07 left to seal the win.
Smith finished the night with 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals to go along with his 29 points.
Al Horford chipped in 18 points and five rebounds after sitting most of the third quarter due to foul trouble (and finishing with only 30 minutes played), while Jeff Teague added 13 points to go along with six assists, and Kyle Korver knocked down 5 of 8 threes to account for his 19 points.
Paul George scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, and he was flanked by David West and Roy Hibbert, who added 15 and 14 points respectively.
The series shifts back to Indiana on Wednesday, where the Hawks lost the first two games by a combined 32 points, before shifting back to Atlanta on Friday night for a now-assured Game 6. Stay tuned.