With the night given off to Ian Mahinmi, in addition to the expected scratches of Danny Granger and George Hill, the blue and gold saw highlight efforts from their usual faces in an exciting preseason affair with the Atlanta Hawks. The two teams battled early and often in the first half, going back and forth before the Pacers pulled away in the third only to have to contend with a furious Hawks comeback in the final quarter to win 102-98.
Paul George would eventually ice the game at the free throw line, part of his 20 point, 8 rebound, and 4 assist night, all while going 11-11 from the free throw line. The Pacers as a team were exceptional from the free throw line, finishing the night 31-35, with all four misses coming from Tyler Hansbrough, who went 5-9 from the line in his board crashing effort of 7 points and 9 boards. David West played the first quarter, leading the way for the Pacers with 11 points before Roy Hibbert got his own game going.
Hibbert was a huge key to the Pacers play as the game progressed, the undersized Hawks front line had no way to contend with the big fella, who finished with a 16-11 double double, adding 6 blocks to the cause as part of a huge block party for the Pacers as a team, racking up 13. In fact, of the 11 players to see floor time tonight, eight recorded a block of their own.
Also on the roster, D.J. Augustin was lethal from the three point line, opportunistically finding a trio of triples as part of his 13 point effort. Gerald Green had another double digit effort off of the bench, finishing with 10 points. Lance Stephenson had a quietly active night, 4 points, 6 boards, and 3 assists.
Orlando Johnson got the start tonight, rattling off the first four points for the Pacers in a six point effort that saw him find a pair of field goals, a nice push from a player who had struggled above all else with putting the ball in the basket. Ben Hansbrough wasn't as effective tonight, struggling to keep up with the Hawks leading scorer Lou Williams, who had 18. Hansbrough did finish the game with 5 points and 4 assists, while not committing a turnover, keeping his slim chances of making the team alive, depending on what the team decides to do regarding Sam Young's and what plans they have for their final roster spot.
Even though it was a preseason game, and even though no one outside of the Fieldhouse saw the events, it was still positive to get the bulk of the team's winning performance from their three active starters. From here, the Pacers will head down to Orlando to play the Magic on Friday on another non-televised game. The first televised Pacers game will be Saturday at home against the Grizzlies, so mark your calendar.