The Indiana Pacers had won in Atlanta during the regular season for 7 years (though they did win game 6 in last year's playoffs to advance to the second round) and have been lackluster in the second night of back-to-backs, scrubbing up a 4-6 record when the second night is a road game heading into tonight's game against the Hawks.
Make no mistake, it was definitely a struggle at times, but in the end the Pacers clamped down on their signature D, rode David West's back and overcame the loss of Lance Stephenson to a sore lower back after he literally flipped over after a crazy shot — and held on to beat the Hawks 89-85, snapping the 7-year curse.
David West was in beast mode tonight, finishing with a team-high 22 points and 10 rebounds on 10-19 shooting and added a three-pointer at the half-time buzzer to keep the Pacers within a single point heading into intermission. Paul George had 18 points and 7 rebounds, but also 5 turnovers, and Lance Stephenson added 10 points and 6 turnovers before that crazy spill early in the third.
Stephenson was driving down the lane and was kind of challenged by Paul Millsap (he really just didn't get out of the way quickly enough), and may have gotten a bit of a push in the back from Kyle Korver. Spinning out of control, he tossed the ball high up off the glass before flipping over Millsap's shoulder and tumbling hard to the floor. He took his time getting up and made the free throw but didn't stay in much longer after that. Fortunately, it doesn't look to be serious and he should be back next game, albeit probably still a little sore.
Anyway, a good win for the Pacers, who now improve to 38-10 on the season and will face the Trailblazers back home on Friday. The last time these two teams met Paul George had a career-high 43 points, so perhaps this will be a good opportunity for him to snap out of a recent shooting funk.