An impressive fourth quarter performance from Aaron Holiday and the Indiana Pacers helped spur them to a 21-point turnaround against the Atlanta Hawks, topping them 125-113 after falling behind by nine early in the fourth.
The Pacers seemed as if they would let missed opportunities in the second and third quarters play a factor late, but the play of Holiday, along with an impressive solo Myles Turner (with T.J. McConnell) defensive effort helped Indiana close the fourth on a 38-17 run. They scored 41 points total in the quarter.
Prior to the run, neither team was able to get a grasp on the game, but it definitely trended in Atlanta’s favor, given their ability to score in bunches. The Pacers had pushed their lead out to 10 points halfway through the second only to allow the Hawks right back in the game, salvaging an otherwise 9-0 Atlanta run with a Justin Holiday three off the side of the backboard.
By halftime, Atlanta cut the lead to four, taking advantage of Indiana failing to convert on a two-for-one possession to finish the first half down 62-58. They would take advantage out of the break, taking the lead on a pair of Trae Young free throws, slowly inching their lead up to eight points halfway through the third.
Indiana’s defense had a plethora of problems to that point, allowing the Hawks to torch the Pacers on floaters and buckets around the rim, Young’s playmaking breaking them through Indiana’s defensive schemes. Down eight, the Pacers swapped Domantas Sabonis for McConnell, which helped lock in the Pacers on the defensive end of the floor.
The Pacers held Atlanta without a field goal, and to two points, for the next four and a half minutes. Unfortunately, all the good will they were building on that end was not being rewarded on the other. The Pacers themselves had just two points for two and a half minutes themselves, before Turner and the Holidays ran off a quick 7-0 run that closed the deficit to one.
They weren’t able to break through, however, getting outscored 3-1 in the final 90 seconds to head into the fourth down 87-84. The Pacers shot just 7-20 in the quarter, getting outscored 29-22. The Hawks pounced to start the fourth, swiftly scoring nine to push their lead out to nine. That’s when A. Holiday and McConnell helped turn the game around, with Holiday scoring on a layup and McConnell forcing a turnover and transition bucket to cut the lead to five.
After a John Collins basket, the Pacers again went with Sabonis on the bench in favor of a solo Turner lineup. Turner quickly got to the free throw line for a pair of buckets, then back-to-back threes from McDermott and A. Holiday cut the lead to one.
Holiday would attack the basket to give Indiana a brief lead, eventually playing to a 105-105 tie after Clint Capela hit a turnaround jumper (???) off of an offensive rebound. From there, Holiday led the way as Indiana scored the next 13, holding the Hawks without a point for three minutes to help close out the win.
Holiday was a huge boost in the second half, scoring 16 points on 6-7 shooting in the third and fourth quarters to total 18 on the night. Holiday was in full-on attack mode in the final quarter, getting four separate shots around the rim. McConnell, meanwhile, was the energy Indiana needed on the defensive end throughout the night, finishing with four steals and two blocks. Offensively he had 12 assists, scoring six and had a staggering +32 for good measure.
Their play helped to settle down an otherwise leaky Indiana defense. This was helped by running Turner as the lone big, bolstering an otherwise impressive defensive rating.
Solo Myles lineups were a 99.7 DRtng before tonight, may be even better now https://t.co/GsHMpxZLR8— Mark Schindler (@MSchindlerNBA) February 14, 2021
Turner finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds (plus two blocks), getting to the double double late with five in the final quarter. That helped the Pacers end the night with a +5 on the glass, a rare victory for them, but it was an interesting night on the glass for Indiana overall.
The Pacers seemed to go as their rebounding went throughout the night. Their rebounding in the first half was sharp, but it slipped in the third when the Hawks were able to build their lead. It was no surprise they tightened things up again in the fourth, outrebounding Atlanta 14-7. That was no doubt aided by Indiana’s 12-15 shooting in the fourth, but it also helped to limit the Hawks on the offensive glass in the late game run.
The backcourt of Holiday and McConnell also played a role in limiting the minutes of Sabonis, who had a season low 27. He was able to close the game on the bench, finishing with 14 points and 13 rebounds to go with seven assists. All five starters reached double figures.
McDermott led the way with 26 points on 9-16 from the field, scoring inside and out, hitting three triples, joining J. Holiday with the team high. The Pacers as a whole were a respectable 12-31 from deep, but the four starters sans Sabonis were 10-22, everyone hitting at least two, helping Holiday to 15 and Malcolm Brogdon to 18 on the night.
Indiana’s ability to close this game with a purpose was nice to see. Though they’ve had nice stretches in even their recent losses, this was the most confident the Pacers had looked in a number of games. They didn’t allow their worst stretches define the outcome, which hasn’t been the case too often in the First Half of the season.
With tonight’s win, the Pacers move back above .500, wrapping up a 2-1 road trip. They’ll return home for a game, hosting the Chicago Bulls on Monday night before a pair of road games against Western Conference opponents.