INDIANAPOLIS – Atlanta got Indiana at exactly the right time.
The Pacers couldn’t shoot early, couldn’t defend most of the night, couldn’t protect their home court and kept All-Star center Roy Hibbert on the bench for the final 30 minutes – all against a team that still hasn’t clinched a playoff spot.
Jeff Teague scored 25 points in his hometown, Pero Antic finished with 18 and the Hawks handed the NBA’s best home team an embarrassing 107-88 loss Sunday that could have a major impact on playoff seeding in the East.
I think as many games as we play, sometimes you just have a half like that, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. I think we participated in it some, but I think we just caught them on a rough night.
The truth is the Hawks are back on track and have taken firm control of the No. 8 slot.
Indiana (53-25), meanwhile, is trying to pull itself out of a complete collapse.
The Pacers couldn’t get closer than 13 after falling into a 14-point hole midway through the first quarter Sunday, and their 23 points were a franchise low for a first half.
Paul George scored 18 points and David West had 17.
Coach Frank Vogel was so upset by the sluggish start that he yanked all five starters midway through the first quarter and benched Hibbert because Vogel thought he needed some extra rest.
He looks worn down, Vogel said. He’s a 7-foot-2 player who has played every game this year, which is very rare. He looks to me to be worn down.
MAVERICKS 93, KINGS 91: In Sacramento, Calif., Monta Ellis scored eight of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and Dallas kept its playoff position with its third straight win.
CLIPPERS 120, LAKERS 97: In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul scored 23 points apiece, and the Clippers hung another rout on the Lakers.
HEAT 102, KNICKS 91: In Miami, LeBron James scored 38 points and the Miami survived 10 3-pointers from New York’s J.R. Smith on the way to dealing the Knicks’ playoff hopes a big blow.
SPURS 112, GRIZZLIES 92: In San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili each scored 26 and San Antonio eased past Memphis after losing Tony Parker, who fell hard, landing on his back.
ROCKETS 130, NUGGETS 125, OT: In Houston, James Harden had 32 points and Chandler Parsons scored eight points in overtime.
WARRIORS 130, JAZZ 102: In Oakland, Calif., Klay Thompson scored 33 points, Stephen Curry added 31 points and 16 assists, and Golden State kept pace in the Western Conference playoff race.
TRAIL BLAZERS 100, PELICANS 94: In Portland, Ore., LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and Portland clinched its first playoff appearance in three seasons.
SUNS 122, THUNDER 115: In Phoenix, Kevin Durant scored 38 points, his 41st consecutive game of 25 or more, but it wasn’t enough to beat Phoenix.