Basketball / Sports

Hawks stun Pacers in Game 5, 107-97

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Atlanta Hawks didn't just steal back home-court advantage. It was more like grand theft larceny.

The Hawks led by as many as 30 points and then held on for a 107-97 victory over the Pacers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Hawks, who lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, are on the verge of doing something only five other teams in NBA history have accomplished. The number eight seeds are one win away from knocking off a number one seed. The Hawks can close out the Pacers when the series returns to Atlanta for Game 6 Thursday.

"We are confident," Jeff Teague said. "We are a confident bunch. We have a never-say-die attitude. Look at us, we are under .500, the eighth seed, injuries, everything. We are going to keep fighting. That is what we did."

The Pacers rallied with a strong fourth quarter. With the crowd behind them -- a group of 18,165 that were booing not long before -- they got as close as nine points, 96-87. Kyle Korver drained a 3-pointer with 3:41 left to give the Hawks back a double-digit advantage.

Shelvin Mack led the Hawks with a team-high 20 points. He teamed up with Mike Scott (17 points) to come off the bench and propel the Hawks to a surprising victory in a series where no team has won two in a row. Paul Millsap (18 points, eight rebounds), Korver (16 points, nine rebounds), DeMarre Carroll (15 points) and Jeff Teague (12 points) all added double-figures.

Scott ignited the Hawks with a second-quarter scoring barrage. He hit four straight 3-pointers and with each offered a different reaction. He shook his head, acted to ride a horse, stared down his red-hot right hand.

"We know we can play with this team," Scott said. "We know they're a great team, especially at home with great players and a great coach. But we believe in ourselves. (Shelvin) Mack made some shots. Kyle (Korver) made some shots and I made some shots and we were able to play with great pace in that second quarter.

"It's the same game plan we've been using all year. Spread them out and run the pick-and-roll game or the pick-and-pop game. And they were worried about Mack and I was able to get loose for some good looks. And then they were just heat checks shots."

Paul George led the Pacers with a game-high 26 points.

The Hawks -- led by Scott and Mack -- had an epic second quarter to build the substantial lead.

Consider:

-- They outscored the Pacers 41-19 in the period.

-- Scott (17 points) and Mack (13) easily had more points than the Pacers.

-- The Hawks started the second quarter making 9 of 10 shots, the first four were Scott 3-pointers. They finished the period 13 of 16 (81.3 percent).

-- In all, the Hawks were 9 of 11 from 3-point range.

-- The Hawks led by as many as 25 points and 61-40 at the half.

-- Between the first and second quarters, the Hawks went on a 27-4 run.

-- The Pacers didn't score their third field goal of the period until 5:43 remained.

-- The Hawks held advantages in rebounds (12-5) and assists (10-4).

-- Teague did not play a second-quarter minute. No need really.

-- The home crowd was booing, loudly, midway through the period.

The Hawks pushed their lead to as many as 30 points, 80-50, on a Carroll 3-pointer with 7:08 left in the third quarter. The Pacers used a late run to pull within 20 points, 87-67, headed into the fourth quarter.

"I said before the series that a couple of our bench guys needed to have big series for us to win this thing," Carroll said. "They've been huge for us all season. They've been professionals the whole season. You couldn't expect anything but the best and I'm happy for each of them."

The Hawks return to Atlanta with a chance to close out the series. The winner of the Wizards-Bulls series would be the second-round opponent. But it won't be an easy task to close out the series -- especially this series.

"If you've been in a playoff series, the close-out games are always the toughest," Korver said. "... We are going to have to go out and play a really good game."

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

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