After a tough loss on Wednesday, the Indiana Pacers bounced back in a big way, taking care of business against the Atlanta Hawks. The Pacers shot 67% in the first quarter, paving their way to a blowout win to wrap up their season series with the Hawks and their current three game home stand.
The most precarious situation the Pacers found themselves in all night came in the second quarter, when cold shooting caught up to them, allowing the Hawks to trim off of Indiana’s lead heading into the break. In the third quarter, however, the Pacers put themselves back in control of the game, jumping ahead by as many as 31.
From the outset, the Pacers showed tonight what they didn’t on Wednesday, that being an ability to hit three point shots. Cory Joseph hit the team’s opening attempt, leading to 14 as a team, shooting 50%. In fact, seven Pacers hit a three, six of them hitting multiple from deep.
In addition to the three point shooting, it was a much more traditional kind of win for the Pacers in terms of their pace. The Pacers not only scored 22 points off turnovers, but outscored Atlanta 25-6 in fast break points. Their dominance on the glass accentuated their pace, pushing them over 50% shooting for nearly the entire game.
Individually, there were a host of impressive performances, none more than the return of Darren Collison, who looked as if he hadn’t missed a game. Collison scored 17 points in 20 minutes, hitting his first four shots, including a buzzer beater to end the first quarter.
Collison was one of five double figure scorers for the Pacers, all five scoring 17 or more. Joseph started again at the point guard spot, scoring 18, with he and Collison combining for nine assists. The backcourt as a whole led the charge in moving the ball, with Victor Oladipo dishing five to go along with his 17 points, receiving an assist from Bojan Bogdanovic on the alley oop.
Vic throws DOWN the alley-oop from Bogey. pic.twitter.com/K4bdBS96AW— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) March 10, 2018
Bogdanovic would lead the total team effort with 21 points, hitting two threes. Myles Turner led the way with three makes from deep, coming up with a 17 point, 12 rebound double double, also finishing with two blocks.
Turner had a big game not only terms of numbers, but played big as well. This version of Myles Turner has become more pronounced of late, averaging 13.6 points per game and 8.5 rebounds in the last 11 outings, shooting over 50% from the floor and over 40% from three, while most importantly showing some level of push back against the big, physical centers that have so often given him trouble.
This next stretch of games will go a long way in gauging just where Turner is as a player. In these four games, Turner will be going toe to toe with Al Horford, Joel Embiid, Jonas Valanciunas, and Marcin Gortat. Truly, there’s no better time for Turner than now.
In his second game with the Pacers, Trevor Booker impressed, scoring eight points and pulling in eight rebounds, including a bench high two offensive boards. It was difficult to really gauge what Booker could bring to the Pacers in the loss to Utah, but he brought a great deal to the Pacers bench tonight, up to and including floor diving and three pointers. If he can bring this level of play to better competition, the Pacers will have rounded out this roster perfectly with his addition.
Things are about to get a whole lot tougher for the Pacers as their next four opponents are against Eastern Conference playoff teams. For them to come together in a win like this shows their awareness of their place in the East, awareness of what happened Wednesday against Utah, and awareness of what happened the last time they played the Hawks.
The win pushes them back to 10 games above .500 at 38-28, giving them a two game cushion over sixth seed Philadelphia. Indiana’s next game will come against the Boston Celtics, wrapping up their season series on Sunday. After dropping the first two, the Pacers will have a chance to even up the series, and will again, hopefully show awareness in how they’ve let games slip away in this matchup.
With so many valuable contributions to the win, who would you say was tonight’s player of the game?
Player of the Game
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