Hawks end road trip with victory over Pacers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (Reuters) - The Atlanta Hawks finished their four-game road trip with a comfortable 110-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.

Al Horford led the way with 25 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks while Joe Johnson scored 24 points as the Hawks split their away games 2-2 to improve to 21-8.

Atlanta enjoyed a rest day before their most recent triumph, a factor that was key to their performance.

"I thought the day off really rejuvenated us," Hawks coach Mike Woodson told reporters. "We had fresh legs. I thought we came out and established our game right off. We had a lot of juice going. I thought it carried over throughout the game."

Indiana (9-19) suffered their fifth straight loss despite three players, Troy Murphy, Luther Head and rookie Tyler Hansbrough, each contributing 19 points.

The Hawks led from start to finish, scoring the first nine points of the game and building a 17-point margin in the first quarter to pull within half a game of Southeast Division leaders Orlando Magic.

"You can't get down on a good team like Atlanta and expect to dig out," Murphy said. "They're too strong and too good of a basketball team."

Atlanta was coming off a lopsided 124-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, but rebounded with an all-around effort.

Josh Smith chipped in 22 points and five blocks and the Hawks got 19 points off the bench from Jamal Crawford, who is among the league leaders in scoring from a reserve.

The struggling Pacers have lost 16 of their last 20 games. Forward Murphy added 12 boards and has been carrying the load for the team in the absence of leading scorer Danny Granger, who has been out with injury since early this month.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)