Feb 18, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) drives to the basket against Atlanta Hawks forward Kyle Korver (26) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Atlanta 108-98. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers force game 7 after topping Atlanta Hawks, 95-88


May 1, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Indiana Pacers players celebrate on the bench in the closing minute of their win over the in game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. The Indiana Pacers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 95-88. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers rallied in the final minutes against the Atlanta Hawks to force a Game 7 to avoid an early summer.

After an up-and-down first half, it seemed that neither the Pacers nor Hawks were on a rhythm.

With the game ending in a 95-88 victory for the Pacers, David West led them to a 16-4 run in the 4th quarter. Poised for an early exit, the Pacers answered back to take the game back to Indiana on Saturday.

For the first time in the series, Indiana went into the second half with the lead, but that was quickly turned around after Mike Scott‘s dunk late in the third quarter to energize the Hawks. Atlanta rallied behind Jeff Teague to outscore the Pacers 28-20 in the 3rd quarter after Paul George was sent to the bench.

Indiana went with a smaller than usual lineup in this game to match up with Atlanta spreading the floor. This strategy seemed to work as Atlanta went 9-for-35 from beyond the arc. The quicker Ian Mahinmi did not start, but played twice as long as a struggling Roy Hibbert.

In what looked like to be one of Atlanta’s biggest playoff game turnout, Philips Arena was electric as Jeff Teague knocked down a jumper to give Atlanta a five point lead with 3:16 left in the 4th quarter to go. But the Pacers defense picked up as they faced possible elimination.

The Hawks attempted 22 3-pointers in the first half which is tied for the most in the first half this season.

Paul Millsap was Atlanta’s top performer with 16 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Lou Williams and Millsap were the only two Atlanta players to score in double figures, both with 16 points.

After the way this series has gone, Game 7 will be one to watch. With an Atlanta victory, this will be the biggest 1-vs-8 upset in NBA history, as well as a historic meltdown for a top team in the league. The series will head back to Indianapolis on Saturday with the time to be determined.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks