Ten observations: Pacers 112, Hawks 87

  1. As is their tendency on the road, the Hawks got off to a bad start. The Pacers ran out to a 15-point lead with All-Star Victor Oladipo taking zero shots. The Hawks were down 34-15 after a quarter and by 30 in the third quarter. Coach Mike Budenholzer waved the white flag with five minutes to go in the third. This was a poor effort by the Hawks after they’d put together a string of four good ones.
  2. Not for the first time, Dewayne Dedmon was the early catalyst for the Hawks. Within the first four minutes he had four points (two shots), two rebounds, a blocked shot and two other good defensive plays at the rim. Too bad it didn’t matter much because the the Hawks were so bad defensively on the perimeter. 
  3. Pacers point guard Corey Joseph worked over Dennis Schroder early. Pacers wing Bojan Bogdanovic did the same to Taurean Prince. Budenholzer eventually saw enough and subbed out all five starters at once. The Pacers led 34-15 after Darren Collison made a tough three-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer.
  4. Hawks reserves gave better defensive effort but it made no difference in the margin because they labored to score while committing careless turnovers. John Collins really was the only Hawks player to give a totally positive performance in the first half (eight points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal). Everyone else was fumbling the ball away, missing bad shots, getting burned defensively or all the above. 
  5. Hawks wing Jaylen Morris started the second half instead of Prince, who stayed on the bench for the rest of the game. It didn’t appear the move was part of Budenholzer’s recent efforts to give his young players meaningful minutes. The coach had several spirited conversations with Prince during his bad first-half performance. 
  6. The Hawks climbed within 13 points in the third quarter. The Pacers responded with a 12-0 run. Soon Budenholzer emptied his bench. Rookie Tyler Dorsey (18 points on 15 shots) put up some garbage-time numbers.
  7. Hawks point guard Isaiah Taylor limped off the court in the second quarter after turning his left ankle. He wasn’t playing well before that. No word on the severity of his injury.
  8. Oladipo has been in a shooting slump: 42.9 effective field-goal percentage over his past eight games. He turned back a mild Hawks rally in the third quarter by going off for 17 points on nine shots in the period. Collison returned after missing 11 games with an injury and abruptly scored 10 points within his first six minutes. 
  9. Myles Turner has become a legit stretch big for the Pacers but the Hawks didn’t seem too concerned about him shooting threes. He made three of his first four while also owning the boards.
  10. Schroder went 1-for-5 on three-pointers (one was a heave). He’s now shooting 28.9 percent on threes for the season (70-for-242). It’s to the point that Schroder is better off taking long twos: he’d made 46 percent of those shots (130-for-280) before tonight, according to Cleaning the Glass.

About the Author

Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010.