Paul George, Pacers snap Hawks’ series streak
by Curt Cavin, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — In a stretch of streaks, the Indiana Pacers now have one on the Atlanta Hawks.
One game in a row.
Of all the NBA teams, Georgia’s franchise has had the tightest recent grasp on the Pacers, winning 13 of the past 15 meetings, including both earlier this season in Atlanta. But that changed Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana overcame a 12-point first-half deficit to win at home for the 15th consecutive time, the longest string of victories since the 1999-2000 season when 25 in a row piled up. That team went to the NBA Finals.
This 114-103 victory came without injured forward Danny Granger, but his return to the lineup later this month only figures to accentuate the togetherness with which the Pacers are playing.
Coach Frank Vogel’s team had assists on 28 of its 36 field goals, moving the scrambling Hawks from side to side with relative ease. It has been the norm of late. Indiana has scored at least 100 points in five of its past six games.
“The offense is really starting to come,” Vogel said. “That’s what’s exciting.”
The wins are accumulating on multiple fronts. This was Indiana’s fourth in a row overall and the second as many nights after beating the Chicago Bulls here Monday night.
Now the question is stamina. The Pacers will play for a third consecutive night when they head east to face the Philadelphia 76ers.
To date, Indiana is the only NBA team playing a triple this season. The sequence came as a result of the Chicago game being rescheduled due to a post-Christmas snowstorm in central Indiana.
The Pacers played six games last year in back-to-back-to-back sequences. They went 3-3.
“I think the guys like it because they don’t have to practice,” Vogel said.
Beating Atlanta gave Indiana a half-game lead over the Bulls in the Central Division. After a 3-6 start to the season, the Pacers are 30-19 and an Eastern Conference-best 20-3 at home.
Sluggish at first, Indiana delivered a strong second quarter and an even better second half. The 64 points in the latter were a season high. They scored at least 31 points in each … [For more on Paul George drops 29 as Pacers snap Hawks' series streak, click here.]