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Pacers deny Hawks playoff-clinching win

Hawks forward Al Horford (15) takes a shot against Indiana’s Orlando Johnson (11) during Monday night’s game, which Atlanta lost after falling behind big in the second quarter.

Hawks forward Al Horford (15) takes a shot against Indiana’s Orlando Johnson (11) during Monday night’s game, which Atlanta lost after falling behind big in the second quarter.

INDIANAPOLIS — Lose one starter, two starters, even three starters, it didn’t matter for the Indiana Pacers against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

The Pacers turned to their bench, and the reserves had no problem stepping up to help out.

Swingman Gerald Green scored 19 points and rookie Orlando Johnson added 15 points to help the Pacers beat the Hawks, 100-94, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Center Roy Hibbert added 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks for Indiana, which was coming off a disappointing loss to Chicago during the weekend.

Josh Smith scored 20 points and Al Horford had 13 as the Hawks — who would have needed a win and a Philadelphia loss on Monday to clinch a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs — dropped percentage points behind idle Chicago for fifth place in the East.

The victory moved the Pacers back in front of the New York Knicks for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers were without starters David West (knee), George Hill (groin) and Lance Stephenson (hip).

Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph combined for 26 points and 14 rebounds at power forward in West’s absence.

The Pacers led by as many as 18 points in the first half and eventually pushed their lead to as many as 28 points in the second half before the Hawks caused some uneasiness.

Atlanta picked up its defensive intensity and eventually got to as close as four points in the final minute of the game.

The Pacers ended any thought of a disappointing loss when D.J. Augustin found Green in the corner for a 3-pointer to put them up 97-90 with 34.4 seconds left.

Comments

VSU 1 year, 4 months ago

Doesn't really matter, the Hawks will be denied when they get to the playoffs anyway.

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