The Pacers (13-13) look to win their second game on the last leg of their three-game road trip as they head South to take on the Atlanta Hawks (11-13) at State Farm Arena. The Blue & Gold hope to keep their momentum rolling after defeating the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night to stop a four-game skid.
As a team, Atlanta appears much-improved from last season. The club currently holds a top-five ranking in five statistical NBA categories. They’re first in free throws made per game (21.3), second in 3-point field goal percentage allowed (33.0 percent), third in free throws attempted per game (25.9), and fourth in both rebounds per game (46.9) and second-chance points per game (14.3).
But it’s no secret who the Hawks utilize the most on offense, as Trae Young appears to be having his best season to date. The third-year point guard out of Oklahoma ranks ninth in the NBA in scoring (26.6 points per game) and second in assists (9.5). He was dynamic against the Pacers last year, averaging 37.7 points and 7.3 assists over three contests. He torched Indiana for 49 points in a loss on Nov. 29, 2019 and tallied 41 in a win over the Pacers on Jan. 4, 2020.
Atlanta’s offense is also boosted by guard Kevin Huerter and forward John Collins. Both starters are averaging in double figures and are shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc this season. Collins is also averaging 55.9 percent from the field overall.
Good rotational defense and team rebounding is a must-have for the Pacers if they wish to return home with another win after Saturday night. Additionally, look for Domantas Sabonis to use his most recent performance against the Pistons (26 points, eight boards, eight assists) to keep the Pacers on track moving forward offensively.
Pacers: PG – Malcolm Brogdon, SG – Justin Holiday, SF – Doug McDermott, PF – Domantas Sabonis, C – Myles Turner
Hawks: PG – Trae Young, SG – Kevin Huerter, SF – Cam Reddish, PF – John Collins, C – Clint Capela
Pacers: Brian Bowen II – out (G League two-way contract), Jalen Lecque – out (G League assignment), Caris LeVert – out (medical condition), Cassius Stanley – out (G League two-way contract), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
Hawks: Bogdan Bogdanovic – out (right knee avulsion fracture), Kris Dunn – out (right ankle surgery), De’Andre Hunter – out (right knee surgery), Rajon Rondo – out (low back pain)
Jan. 4, 2020: Despite playing without Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana liked its chances against the Atlanta Hawks, who carried the NBA’s worst record at the time.
However, Trae Young and company pounced on a disastrous Blue & Gold start and raced out to a 22-point lead early. After the Pacers clawed their way back to earn a lead early in the second half, they slipped up down the stretch and fell 116-111 inside State Farm Arena. Domantas Sabonis led Indiana with 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 11 rebounds, and four assists in the loss. Young finished his stellar night with 41 points and eight assists.
Indiana started 3-for-11 from the floor, while the Hawks started 14-for-19. The hosts finished the first quarter with 43 points, 18 from Young alone.
Runs of 13-2 and 11-0 from the Pacers helped trimmed the early lead to four, 64-60 before the first half ended. It appeared as if Indiana had all the momentum moving forward. In the third, T.J. Warren capped off a four-point play to push Indiana ahead ,68-66. The Blue & Gold remained close throughout the rest of the frame.
Atlanta maintained a slim lead throughout the fourth. Jeremy Lamb cut the Pacers deficit to 11-109 with 2:51 remaining. Indiana’s defense got the stops needed to make one final push, but the offense could not get the ball to fall. They recorded just two more points for the remainder of the game. Young finished off the game at the free throw line.
- Indiana has won seven of the last eight meetings against the Hawks, but still trails in the all-time series, 92-102.
- Before being traded to the Chicago Bulls, Justin Holiday appeared in 26 games for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2015-16 NBA season.
- Jeremy Lamb leads the Pacers in free throw percentage this season at 96.7 percent (30-31). He has made 24 consecutive free throws and has not missed from the foul line since the second quarter of Indiana’s win over the Orlando Magic on Jan. 22.
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (stuio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)