It seemed as if the All-Star break couldn’t come any sooner for the Hawks, losing five straight games coming into the break by an average of over nine points per game. However, getting a few days off would not do the trick for the Hawks losing 108-98 to the NBA’s best Indiana Pacers Tuesday night.
It was all Pacers tonight, taking a commanding 22-point lead in the first quarter. Behind 14 first quarter points from All-Star Paul George Indiana, the Pacers won their second straight over the Hawks.
The short-handed Hawks got more bad news just before game time, when they learned forward DeMarre Carroll would miss the game with a hamstring strain. Carroll’s presence was perhaps more evident tonight because of the tough match-up with the Pacers lengthy guards in George and Lance Stephenson. Already without Al Horford, John Jenkins, and Pero Antic; the Hawks could ill-afford anymore injuries, but would lose Gustavo Ayon just before half-time for the rest of the game, with an apparent shoulder injury.
The Hawks only lead was at 2-0 and despite going down by 22 points in the first quarter, the Hawks did fight back to cut the deficit to just three in the second period, however the lead rose to seven at the half, and in the third quarter the Pacers extended their lead back to 21 points.
Hawks All-Star Paul Millsap has seen his struggles against the Pacers this season, combining to shoot just 3-21 from the field in two games against the leagues best defense. Millsap would struggle again against the Pacers scoring just 7 points on 3-10 shooting from the field.
Kyle Korver extended his NBA-record for consecutive games with a three pointer made to 121 early in the first quarter, and would shoot 5-7 from beyond the arc; leading the Hawks with 19 points on 10 shots.
Despite making 12 three pointers in the contest and shooting a respectable 48% from the field, the Hawks were killed by turnovers. The Hawks turned over the ball 22 times, which lead to 35 points by the Pacers.
If there was one positive, it would be the Hawks bench. Led by Lou Williams 18 points off the bench, the Hawks bench players would outscore their starters 52 to 46.
With Jeff Teague’s name being mentioned in trade rumors earlier this week, Teague struggled again on the floor. Teague’s four turnovers overshadowed his 3 made field goals and finished with just 8 points on the night.
The Hawks, now fully in a tailspin, have lost six straight games and fall to 25-27 on the season. The Hawks have even more injuries to contend with, will not have any time to recover as they play tomorrow night against the Washington Wizards