ATLANTA (AP) – Kyle Korver scored 17 points, Pero Antic added 16 and the Atlanta Hawks raced to a big lead before holding off the team with the NBA’s best record, beating the weary Indiana Pacers 97-87 Wednesday night.
The Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak and extended Indiana’s misery at Philips Arena, where the Pacers (28-7) haven’t won since 2006. They dropped their 12th in a row in Atlanta, the team’s longest active road losing streak against any team.
Indiana looked very much like a squad playing its fourth game in five nights and also had dealt with travel issues because of the arctic weather. The Pacers managed just 12 points in the first quarter and 32 in the opening half – both season lows.
Paul George led Indiana with 28 points.
The Hawks ended Indiana’s three-game winning streak, handing the Pacers just their second loss in 10 games.
Atlanta took advantage of their sluggish opponents right from the start, racing to a 12-0 lead before most of the sparse crowd had settled into their seats. The Hawks built a 49-32 lead by halftime and were up by as many 25 in the third quarter.
But the Eastern Conference leaders, who never led, weren’t about to go that easily.
They clamped down at the defensive end against a team that must make up for the loss of center Al Horford, out with a season-ending injury. The Pacers picked it up offensively, too, scoring more points in the third quarter than they did in the first two combined.
Heading to the fourth, Atlanta’s lead was down to 79-66. The Pacers got as close as eight in the final period but finally ran out of steam, making only two of their last nine shots.
Indiana played without guard Lance Stephenson, who didn’t dress because of a bruised right knee. Danny Granger started in his place, with George moving to Stephenson’s shooting guard spot.
George lit up the Hawks, knocking down 11 of 25 from the field – including three from beyond the arc – and leading the Pacers with 12 rebounds. He didn’t get much help; Granger with 14 points and George Hill with 10 were his only teammates in double figures.
The Hawks were much more balanced, overcoming a poor night by Paul Millsaps. He made only 1 of 10, but the other four starters were all in double figures and Mike Scott added 15 off the bench.
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