In the first half of the Atlanta Hawks/ Indiana Pacers game tonight, all indications were the Hawks were on their way to a blowout victory and an in-season tournament win.
The game’s end turned out radically different.
The Hawks lost the game to the Pacers 152 -157. A disquieting conclusion to a game that would seem to be a sure-fire win for the Hawks, with such a massive point score, but weak defense and a strong performance by the Pacers Tyrese Haliburton handed the Hawks their 3rd straight loss and an exit from the Tournament. The Pacers go on to the quarterfinals.
At Halftime, the Hawks scored 86 points, a franchise record for halftime scoring. The team was at one point during the second quarter 20 points ahead of the Pacers. But the Hawks were unable to hold on to their lead for long, and in the latter part of the 3rd quarter, the Hawks fell behind the Pacers. The Hawks had an opportunity to win the game in the final seconds but wound up turning over the ball to the Pacers, who tacked on another 2 points for good measure. The Hawks lost at home and fell to 6 – 7 for the still-young season.
With this game, the Hawks seem to be following the Atlanta Falcons’ lead in making the wrong kinds of history. 929 The Game’s Mike Conti pointed out in X/Twitter that this is the first time ever that the Hawks scored 150+ in a regulation game and lost. And it’s the first time in four years that ANY NBA team lost a regulation game despite scoring 150+ points.
Trae Young was the biggest point scorer for the Hawks, with 38 points on the night. He also got 8 assists. His performance was matched by the Pacers’ Haliburton, who garnered 37 points and 16 assists. The Hawks and Pacers were nearly even in team shots (60.0%-60.6%) and three-point shots (48.9%-48.4%).
The Hawks’ loss of this game seems to underscore the teams’ persistent problems in defense. They were never able to keep the Pacers in check tonight and lackluster defense will not get you far in this NBA. The team resumes regular play and will try to break this losing streak when they play the Brooklyn Nets at State Farm Arena tomorrow night.