Just as the Indiana Pacers exhaled with what appeared to be an insurmountable lead over the Atlanta Hawks in the third quarter, Atlanta coach Larry Drew put the last five guys on his bench out on the floor. Yep, time for a classic garbage-time fourth quarter.
Only problem was that the Hawks' end of the bench came out ready to play and took advantage of the Pacers relaxed pulse rate. Next thing you know, the lead is down to four points and the Pacers have a dire situation on their hands. Much credit to Drew for sticking with his bench crew after Frank Vogel sent his starters (well, what starters he had due to injuries) back on the floor. The whole scene made for an odd finish that mucked up the narrative of what had been an entertaining game fueled by seldom-used Pacers stepping up to earn the win.
Regardless, all's well that ends well as the once 28-point lead did prove to be insurmountable and the Pacers held on for a win that nudged them back into second place in the East, at least for one day, as they hit the road to take on a few Western Conference foes.
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