Published January 13, 2015
The Indiana Pacers will continue the hardest scheduling stretch in the NBA this season Tuesday night when they welcome the Atlanta Hawks to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers will play the second of three nights in a row on Tuesday, the only scheduling circumstance like that in the league this season. Indiana had to play a rescheduled game against the Chicago Bulls on Monday, a 111-101 victory, will jump it up Tuesday against the Hawks, then visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
The Pacers picked up their 14th straight home victory on Monday with a surprisingly offensive win over the Bulls. Indiana and Chicago ranked second and third in the NBA in opponents' scoring.
"This is a tough stretch for us," admitted David West. "We know what type of problems Chicago brings, in terms of who they are, so we couldn't let our guard down. I thought we just came out and put up the type of fight you need to win a game like this."
The Pacers, winners of three in a row, used a great run in the second and third quarters to come out on top. They won those two frames 59-47 to tie the Bulls atop the Central Division.
West led the way with 29 points and nine rebounds. Paul George netted 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and George Hill added 22 points and six assists.
The Hawks head to Indianapolis losers in two of their last three. But, Atlanta has defeated the Pacers four straight times, including twice this season.
"It's a challenge to come out and play against teams that are really good rebounding teams," head coach Larry Drew said Monday after practice. "We're going to have to be good tomorrow night against a team that is relentless crashing the boards."
The Pacers are the NBA's best rebounding team, while Atlanta ranks 26th.
The Hawks lost their last time out, a 93-76 setback at home on Saturday to the Chicago Bulls. To further illustrate how poorly the Hawks rebound the ball, Atlanta was beaten on the glass, 53-45, and the Bulls didn't have their two best rebounders, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer in the lineup.
Josh Smith paced the Hawks against the Bulls with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Al Horford also registered a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver both cracked the 10-point mark.
The Hawks are expected to be without reserve big man Zaza Pachulia, who is listed as doubtful with a sore right Achilles.
Atlanta has dominated the Pacers in recent history past the four consecutive wins. The Hawks have taken 13 of the last 15 and four of the last six in Indiana.