INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers (38-28) came out and played just the way they needed to on Friday. After getting blown out by the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, Indy responded with a resounding win over the Atlanta Hawks (20-46). This was the same Hawks squad that the Blue and Gold disappointingly lost to just nine days ago.
Five Pacers scored 17+ points, fueling Indiana on their way to an easy 112-87 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Hawks scored the first two points of Friday’s game. They never led again.
Indy scored the next seven points and the floodgates opened. Cory Joseph scored ten of his 18 points in the first quarter and as a team, the Pacers shot 67% by the time the buzzer sounded to end the opening frame. Indiana held a sizable 34-15 edge after one.
Despite chipping away at their deficit throughout the evening, Atlanta never got back within single digits.
The Blue and Gold led 53-37 at halftime and then used a massive 18-4 run in the third quarter to put a stamp on a good night’s work. Indiana was in front by as many as 31 points and cruised to the finish line to pick up a critical win.
Following a dismal 3-for-23 three-point shooting night on Wednesday, the Pacers were much improved from downtown on Friday. Indy shot 50% from beyond the arc, nailing 14 of 28 triples.
Indiana received plenty of encouraging performances in this contest.
Myles Turner put forward another solid effort, finishing with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds. Victor Oladipo was efficient, also scoring 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting. He also grabbed five boards and dished out five assists.
And maybe most importantly, Darren Collison returned from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and looked good. In his first game action since Feb. 2, Collison came off of the bench to score 17 on 7-of-10 shooting and record five assists.
Friday’s victory is big for the Pacers, in part because of how tough their remaining schedule looks. Next up for Indy is a Sunday trip to Boston, where they will battle the East’s second best team at 7:30 p.m.
After battling the Celtics, the Pacers will be in Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Tuesday. Then on Thursday, the East’s top team in the Toronto Raptors will be in Indianapolis.