Taking care of business out of the All-Star Break, the Indiana Pacers topped the Atlanta Hawks to move nine games over .500 on the year. The Pacers never trailed, but benefited as much from playing the struggling Hawks as anything. The Pacers played strong, but not smart, with 17 turnovers leading to 20 Atlanta points.
The turnovers were an issue throughout the night, but the lazy passes proved to be really the lone downside to their overall performance tonight. While the Pacers committed 17 turnovers, they forced 22, with 17 on steals, leading to 31 points off turnovers (and a 25-13 advantage in fast break points).
The Pacers also boasted a +17 in the rebounding game, including 15 offensive rebounds. That led to 21 points and helped push the Pacers over 100 field goal attempts for the game, which worked out well with them shooting under 50% and just 9-28 from three point range, but did hold Atlanta to 45% on the night and keeping them short of 100 points (allowing just 66 through three).
Indiana had a well-rounded performance not only as a team, but individually as well. Six Pacers reached double figures, led by Domantas Sabonis off the bench with 21 points on 9-13 shooting with 13 rebounds. Sabonis led the way on the offensive glass with five, the Pacers going 4-5 for nine points off of those rebounds.
Lance Stephenson also reached double figures off the bench with 13 points, coming up with eight rebounds and eight assists in a game the Pacers had 30 assists on the night, staying perfect on the season when they move the ball that well. Joe Young was one of three Pacers to hit a pair of threes, pulling in eight rebounds himself, a career high.
The real story of the night was in the return of Glenn Robinson III, making his season debut after suffering an ankle injury in training camp. Robinson played 19 minutes, scoring four points and coming up with two offensive rebounds. His first attempt wasn’t much to write home about, but his second, a step in jumper, looked on point.
Thaddeus Young led the way for the starters with 20 points on 9-15 shooting. Young was predictably active in all aspects of the game, hitting a pair of threes and coming up with a game high five steals. The Pacers scored seven off of those steals. Bojan Bogdanovic had four of his 12 in those situations. Cory Joseph also reached double figures with 15.
The Pacers did all they did tonight without a good shooting effort from Victor Oladipo. Oladipo had just 14 points on 5-16 shooting, but despite that, he remained a huge part of the game with nine assists, seven rebounds, four steals, and two blocks. It shows just the value Oladipo has on this team that even without scoring, the team still continues to run through him.
The win continues Indiana’s impressive run in take-care-of-business games this year, which has helped them clinch their 29th consecutive winning season at home. Indiana is now 21-8 against teams below .500 and with the schedule stiffening up soon, this current stretch of games becomes key as the Pacers move into a tie for fourth in the East with the win tonight.
The Pacers will hit the road for their next four games, beginning with a matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs stole a win from Indiana earlier in the season without Oladipo, giving the Pacers plenty of motivation heading into the game on Monday.