Their season-high winning streak is now history, but the Indiana Pacers still have a run at home they can keep intact tonight versus the Atlanta Hawks.
Indiana had won six in a row until a 92-72 road rout at the hands of the Chicago Bulls last night at the United Center. Paul George led the way with 21 points and George Hill netted 17 for the Pacers, who made just 34.2 percent of their shots and sank only 3-of-16 from three-point range. Danny Granger scored 11 points and David West chipped in 10 and nine rebounds in defeat.
The Pacers were done in by a 33-13 margin in the third quarter.
"Give credit to the Bulls," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "They won all the hustle stats, won all the loose balls, obviously kicked our butts on the glass. Clearly, they took control of the game in the third quarter by getting red-hot from the 3-point line."
Vogel's club will shoot for its fifth straight win at Indy and owns an 11-4 record at home this season. Indiana had reached the 100-point mark in five straight games.
Atlanta will kick off a six-game road trip Tuesday and enters tonight's matchup with plenty of confidence after upending the Western Conference- leading Oklahoma City Thunder with Saturday's 97-90 victory in the finale of a four-game homestand at Philips Arena.
Josh Smith has taken over the scoring load while Joe Johnson rests his ailing left knee and recorded 30 points and 12 rebounds. Zaza Pachulia also had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Hawks, who went 3-1 on a four-game homestand and posted a 42-26 edge in points in the paint. The Hawks also forced the Thunder into 21 turnovers, leading to 22 points.
"We played the way we're capable of playing," Smith said. "It feels good to be able to get a win against a high-powered offensive team like the Oklahoma City Thunder."
Jeff Teague and Kirk Hinrich added 16 and 10 points, respectively, to help end Oklahoma City's seven-game winning streak. Johnson is doubtful for tonight's game and guards Willie Green (back), Tracy McGrady (knee) and Jerry Stackhouse (stomach virus) are all questionable. The Hawks have been without forwards Jason Collins (elbow) and Al Horford (pectoral surgery) for quite some time.
Smith is averaging 22.5 points in his last four games and the Hawks are 11-0 when he scored 20-plus points in a game. Atlanta shot 43.5 percent versus the Thunder and is 14-0 when shooting at least 45 percent or better. The Hawks are the only team in the NBA to beat Chicago, Miami and Oklahoma City this season.
The Hawks will try to stop a three-game slide on the road and will also visit the Heat, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets and Clippers on the road swing. They are 10-9 away from Philips Arena this season.
Atlanta and Indiana have split two matchups already this season, with each team prevailing as the host. The Hawks have won 10 of the past 12 games against the Pacers, winners in 17 of 22 matchups as the host.