Hawks lead the series, 3-2
M. Scott (ATL): 17 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast
P. George (IND): 26 pts, 12 reb, 6 Ast, 6 stl
At home, the bench thrives. Or that’s at least how the narrative goes.
The Atlanta Hawks weren’t worried about any stinking narratives Monday night when Mike Scott dropped 17 second-quarter points and the road team took a commanding 3-2 series. lead. This game was much less about Indiana staying close to Atlanta and more about the Hawks squandering opportunity after opportunity. They couldn’t execute much on offense and when they did, the shot simply wouldn’t fall. Well that was the case for three of the four quarters, not including the second.
As a team, the Hawks scored 41 points to Indy’s 19 in the second. Shelvin Mack scored 13 off the bench in that frame alone and Atlanta built a 61-40 lead at the break. The Pacers stormed back in the second half, but couldn’t fight back from the 20-point deficit.
Now, the Hawks have a chance to win their first playoff series since 2010-11, when Atlanta stifled Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.
Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]
Jeff Teague: When the Hawks offense was falling apart, Teague kept it above water. Atlanta couldn’t get anything going to start the contest, but the point guard knocked down a few shots early to keep up with the Pacers start. He was one of the Hawks’ six players to finish the night in double-digits points-wise. 7/10
Paul Millsap: Millsap is still the engine pushing this Hawks machine forward. He’s gotten the better of the likes of Roy Hibbert and David West and continued to do the same Monday. Another great all-around game for the forward. 10/10
Kyle Korver: Korver got the 3-ball working Monday and pushed the Hawks with a team-high +21. He hit five triples and nearly recorded a double-double. 8/10
DeMarre Carroll: Carroll chipped in 15 points, but struggled a bit defensively as Paul George exploded for 26 points. 6/10
Pero Antic: Yet another really bad night for Antic. Couldn’t figure out anything on offense, but had a few solid defensive possessions. 1/10
Lou Williams: Williams added eight points, but stopped the bleeding with a quick two when it looked like Indiana was prepping for a comeback. 4/10
Elton Brand: Just over 10 minutes of floor time for the vet. Snagged a few rebounds and dished an assist in limited minutes. INC/10
Mike Scott: There are no words. Just an unbelievable effort from the second-year forward. 6-of-6 from the field, 5-of-5 from range and all of his points were scored in the crucial second quarter. 10/10
Shelvin Mack: Mack wanted to be like Mike. Actually, he wanted to push the Hawks to within one game of clinching the first-round series and he did just that. A team-high 20 points for Mack and five assist. Really solid night. 9/10
Coach Budenholzer: Coach Bud managed his roster to near perfection in the first half. He got a spark from the bench and rode it until the half. He kept the big lineup in a little long in the fourth, until switching to the small lineup and battling Indy down the stretch. 7/10
The opposition: Mental lapses on defense gave Atlanta the lead in the second. The Pacers didn’t rotate on pick-and-pops and gave Mike Scott everything he wanted. Luis Scola refused to man-up and Indy didn’t adjust until it was too late. Much like this series has been, they didn’t care until the game was all but decided and the series appears headed that way as well. 6/10
Next: Game 6 vs Indiana, Thursday, May 1, at 7:00 PM EDT