04/19 22:28 CDT Hawks take 1-0 lead by rolling past Pacers 101-93
Hawks take 1-0 lead by rolling past Pacers 101-93
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) --- Atlanta's Jeff Teague demolished the Pacers' grand
As his teammates set up around the 3-point line, Teague simply blew through
open lanes to the basket repeatedly.
The Pacers didn't have an answer.
Teague scored a playoff career-high 28 points, Paul Millsap added 25 and the
eighth-seeded Hawks won their first road playoff game in three years, shocking
top-seeded Indiana 101-93 to take a 1-0 lead in the first-round series.
"I just wanted to win," the Indianapolis native said after beating his hometown
Perhaps that's why Teague finally cracked a hesitant smile in the locker room
before stepping to the podium.
Or it could be that Teague remembers the frustration Indiana caused when it
clinched last year's 4-2 first-round win on Atlanta's home court. As one of the
few remaining links to that team, Teague wasn't about to let something like
that happen again.
This time, surrounded by a mostly new group of 3-point shooters, a first-year
coach and a game plan that the Pacers never adapted to, Teague kept getting to
He wound up 9 of 19 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line with
five assists and three rebounds on a night the Hawks snapped an eight-game road
losing streak in the playoffs and became the first team to beat Indiana on its
home court twice this season.
Atlanta won its first road playoff game since Game 1 of the 2011 Eastern
Conference semifinals at Chicago, and they'll have a chance to do it all again
Tuesday in Game 2 before the best-of-seven series movies to Atlanta, where the
Pacers have won only two times since December 2006.
"I think getting off to such a good start against such a good team is
important," coach Mike Budenholzer said after his fifth win in six games. "It's
really not something we talked about. They're the No. 1 seed for a reason."
Meanwhile, the Pacers' stunning struggles showed no sign of abating.
Indiana was just 5 of 19 from the field in the decisive third quarter and shot
just 35.6 percent in the second half, a 24-minute span in which it spent most
of the time trying to dig out of a double-digit hole.
Paul George had 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Lance Stephenson
finished with 19 points and seven rebounds and George Hill added 12 points.
But the Hawks' ability to spread the floor essentially nullified All-Star
center Roy Hibbert, who had eight points and eight rebounds, and David West,
who had eight points and three rebounds.
And Indiana wasted no time in giving back the home-court advantage it spent the
entire season chasing.
"It's frustrating. It's frustrating, but it's a long series," George said
before explaining he believes the Pacers can regain the upper hand --- if they
figure out how to defend better. "It's just one game and that's the way we have
to look at it."
That won't be easy against this team.
Atlanta set a franchise playoff record with 30 3-point attempts and matched the
franchise's second-highest playoff total for 3-pointers made (11). Both were
set May 10, 1996, when the Hawks were 12 of 27 on 3s in a 26-point loss to
"I thought our ball movement was great," Kyle Korver said after scoring 12
points. "That's one of the things we've tried to play to all year and tonight
it kind of worked out."
They made it look easy, too.
Korver's buzzer-beating putback, following an Indiana turnover in the closing
seconds of the first half, tied the score at 50.
Atlanta then opened the third quarter with eight straight points and when the
Pacers rallied to get within 60-58, Teague and Millsap took control.
Millsap opened the decisive 14-0 run with two free throws. Teague followed that
with a driving layup, his only 3 of the game, another layup and two free
throws. And when Millsap ended the run with a three-point play, the Pacers
They couldn't even cut the lead to single digits until Stephenson's 3 made it
99-91 with 33.6 seconds left and by then it was too late for the league's best
home team to rally.
"All year, we've encouraged Jeff to be aggressive," Budenholzer said. "When
he's aggressive, it just creates opportunities for himself and opportunities
for his teammates."
And headaches for everyone else.
Notes: Atlanta made eight of its first 12 shots in the third quarter. ...
Indiana hasn't reached the second round of the playoffs in consecutive years
since 2003-04 and 2004-05. ... The Game 1 winner has won each of the five
previous playoff series' between Atlanta and Indiana. ... Hawks forward DeMarre
Carroll has 12 points and 10 rebounds.