george hill

George Hill and David West each scored 21 points and the Indiana Pacers withstood a furious Atlanta comeback in the fourth quarter, beating the Hawks 81-73 on Friday night to close out the opening-round playoff series four games to two.

The home team had won every game until the Hawks returned to Philips Arena and set a franchise record with just nine points in the second quarter on 1-of-15 shooting. The defense broke down in the third, allowing Hill and West to combine for 22 points, and the Pacers built a 65-50 lead going to the fourth.

The Hawks showed some heart, slicing it to 76-73 on Al Horford’s dunk with 2:13 remaining.

But the comeback fizzled there, and the Pacers advanced to face New York.

The Hawks went through an absolutely brutal stretch from early in the second quarter to nearly midway through the third, in which they did not actually put the ball in the hoop.

In the equivalent of more than a quarter — 15:43 to be exact — Atlanta went 1 of 21 from the field, the only basket awarded to Devin Harris on a goaltending call against Roy Hibbert.

At a time when the Hawks needed one of their best performances of the season, they produced one of their worst…

Hibbert added 17 points and 11 rebounds. Lance Stephenson also had 11 rebounds.

The Hawks couldn’t play much worse than they did in the second quarter. They showed little energy. They put up some truly awful shots. They missed even when they got a decent look.

Kyle Korver made the Hawks’ only basket of the period on a jumper with 10:35 left. After that, they missed their last 13 shots before heading to the locker room to a round of boos from the home crowd.

– Reported by the Associated Press