Pacers final score: Hawks soar past Pacers 143-130

Mar 25, 2023 - 11:55 PM
NBA: <a href=Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks" src="" />
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The quick turnaround appeared to have caught up to the Indiana Pacers by the end of their game against the Atlanta Hawks, as they got outscored 40-24 in the 12 minutes following both their final lead of the game and Trae Young’s ejection. It’s also possible they just weren’t going to hold up anyway as their defense was a wreck all night, allowing both 50% shooting from three and 76 paint points to the Hawks.

The Pacers didn’t appear to be suffering any sort of fatigue to start the game at least, jumping out to a quick 22-13 lead thanks to 10 quick points from Andrew Nembhard, but the Hawks would turn things around quickly, closing the quarter on a 26-13 run to go up by four. Both teams shot nearly 60% in the quarter, a trend that would continue in the second.

Jordan Nwora got things started in the quarter with a three, an auspicious start for what would wind up being an all-time quarter for him. His scoring carried the Pacers through the entire quarter, winding up with a staggering 25 points on 9-11 shooting, hitting three threes in the process.

Though there weren’t much in the way of stops, the Pacers still managed to inch their back into the lead behind Nwora’s scoring, tying it up on a three and following it up with a dunk to put Indiana on top.

Indiana was able to hold onto their lead through the rest of the half, going up by as many as six on a big time Aaron Nesmith dunk, but still relinquished the final four of the half to see their lead trimmed down to just two as both teams broke 70 in the half.

The game would go back-and-forth early in the third before Atlanta looked to make a push on a deep three by Young. The Hawks led 84-81 when Young knocked down the shot, going to the ground in the process. The officials, however, assessed the Young had kicked his leg out to draw the foul against Nesmith, negating the basket.

Tyrese Haliburton knocked down a three of his own on the other end to tie the game up at 84-84 when Young threw the ball towards the ref, earning himself a quick ejection in the process. Haliburton knocked down the technical free throw to put Indiana on top, but Atlanta responded in a big way, outscoring the Pacers 20-11 to end the third.

The Pacers were never able to recover. No one was providing any lights out shooting and the defense wasn’t improving one iota, allowing the Hawks to push their advantage as high as 17 with eight minutes in the fourth. Buddy Hield would make things marginally interesting with a trio of threes that helped cut the lead to 10, but again, with no stops, the Pacers could only tread water at best, running out of steam in a 13-point loss.

One of the reasons Indiana’s defense was so bad tonight was in part due to the absence of Myles Turner, amplifying the point of attack mistakes but also removing any consistent rim protection. Isaiah Jackson provided some positives offensively with 14 points, but wasn’t much of a presence on the other end, finding himself with more fouls than defensive stats. That situation didn’t improve much with Jalen Smith despite his 11 points and seven rebounds.

That ultimately allowed the Hawks to score 76 points in the paint, including 22 second chance points on 15 offensive rebounds. It didn’t help that the Hawks were 15-30 from three point range, forcing the Pacers to have to honor Atlanta’s shooters enough, especially when it came to a bench that had the upper hand despite Nwora’s night.

Nwora finished with 33 points and six rebounds, coming up one shy of tying his career high. His 25 second quarter points set a regular season franchise record (dating back to 1996-97), passing Mike Dunleavy, who posted 24 in a quarter. While he scored well, no one else really came along for the ride as no Pacer reached 20 points.

Haliburton came closest with 19, looking much more comfortable than he did last night, knocking down a pair of threes and shooting 7-13 overall. He did move the ball extremely well, picking up 13 assists to just one turnover. Nembhard had just two points following his own first quarter push, finishing with 12 while Nesmith scored 11. Bennedict Mathurin again struggled to find his spot as a starter, scoring just four on four shot attempts.

Off the bench, Hield led the way with 16, coming alive in the fourth after showing his own struggles in his second start off the bench. T.J. McConnell wrapped up the double figure scorers with 10, though he was turnover prone again tonight, committing four of Indiana’s 17, allowing 24 points off turnovers as a team. Chris Duarte returned to action, but left the game after just five minutes after still feeling soreness in his ankle.

The loss drops the Pacers to 33-42 on the year, back into 12th place for the time being, a half game behind Washington. The Wizards play tomorrow, but Indiana currently sits with the seventh worst record, currently on top of Portland by percentage points as the Blazers may be looking to finish out the year without Damian Lillard.

The Pacers wrap up their final road trip of the year at 1-3, setting them up for just two more road games the rest of the year. The first of those won’t be for another week, giving Indiana a three game home stand in the interim as just seven games remain in the regular season. It will be a challenging trio of games however, starting with a matchup against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!