Basketball / Sports

The Atlanta Hawks' Paul Millsap gets past the Indiana Pacers' Roy Hibbert for a layup during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinal at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Saturday, April 26, 2014. Indiana won, 91-88, to tie the series. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)

Hawks blow 10-point lead in third quarter second as Pacers rally for victory

ATLANTA -- It's a series again.

The Indiana Pacers rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to pull out a much-needed 91-88 victory over the Hawks in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series Saturday afternoon.

The top-seeded Pacers evened the best-of-seven series 2-2 and regained home-court advantage over the eighth-seeded Hawks. The Hawks were left empty after having a chance to take a commanding lead in the series at a sold-out Philips Arena. The series returns to Indianapolis for Game 5 on Monday night.

"Go win," Jeff Teague said of returning to Indiana. "We beat them there before. We'll beat them again. We are confident."

The Hawks led by 10 points in the third quarter and by five points, 83-78, with 4:37 left after Teague made a 3-pointer. Paul George's 3-pointer with 2:11 remaining gave the Pacers an 86-85 lead that they would not relinquish.

After a Hawks turnover, one of nine in the second half, David West drained a 3-pointer to push the Pacers' advantage to four points.

Kyle Korver brought the Hawks back to within a point with three free throws, the last coming after a lane violation, with 1:33 left. George Hill answered with a layup, and the Pacers led 91-88.

The Hawks committed yet another turnover as Millsap threw the ball out of bounds. They survived the miscue when they forced a jump ball with 13.2 seconds left. Millsap missed a shot inside, and West grabbed the rebound.

The Hawks survived again when George missed two free throws with 7.5 seconds left. The Pacers forced the Hawks into a Pero Antic desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer that bounced off the rim.

"We are still a confident group," Millsap said. "We let one slip away here, but we showed that we can go there and compete. That is what our mindset is now. We've got to let this one go and get ready for Monday."

Millsap led the Hawks with a playoff career-high 29 points, including 18 in the first half. Korver finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Teague added 14 points.

George led the Pacers with 24 points, and West scored 18. The Hawks lost despite holding All-Star center Roy Hibbert to six points. For the third consecutive game, he did not play in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks will lament their failures on offense down the stretch. They went 0-for-4 from the field and committed three turnovers in the final four and a half minutes.

"We have to screen better. We have to attack more (and do) all the things that we have been stressing, and hopefully that will reduce our turnovers and make us more efficient," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

The Pacers erased a six-point halftime deficit with a 12-0 run midway through the third quarter. The teams went back and forth, and the Pacers took a 66-65 lead into the final quarter.

The Pacers were aided when Millsap picked up two quick fouls early in the third quarter and had to sit. The Hawks led by nine points with 9:42 left and by three when he returned with 3:45 left in the period.

"I definitely affected the momentum of the game," Millsap said. "I picked up two fouls. My fault. Stupid. Crazy. I've got to be smarter in situations like that. I'm to blame for that. I tried to pressure the ball, picked up two quick ones and the momentum changed."

The Hawks held a 48-42 halftime lead after a strong second quarter. They led by as many as 10 points with a 26-9 run to start the period. The Pacers closed with two baskets, only their fourth and fifth field goals (on 20 attempts) of the 13-point quarter.

The Pacers started the game on an 8-0 run. The Hawks answered with an 8-0 run of their own to push back after the Pacers' initial shove. The Pacers ended the first quarter with a 7-0 run to take a 29-22 lead on 66.7 percent (12-of-18) shooting.

The Hawks know they let a game -- and maybe the series -- slip out of their control.

"We were up by 10 at one point in the (third) quarter," DeMarre Carroll said. "We let them come all the way back. When we've got teams down, we've got to keep playing hard, keep doing what got us there. We got away from that. A good team like that you can't get lackadaisical."

(c)2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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