Heat sweep Bobcats; Spurs edge Mavericks to level playoff series
The high-flying Atlanta Hawks showed just how much reserve they have in their tank with two big performances from back-up players delivering an important win on Monday.
Shelvin Mack dropped in 20 points and Mike Scott had all 17 of his in the decisive second quarter - both play-off career-highs - and the visiting Hawks shot past the Indiana Pacers, 107-97 for a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference opening round play-off series.
“They’re a great team but we came out and competed at a high level,” Mack said.
Paul Millsap had 18 points and eight rebounds, and Kyle Korver scored 16 with five of the Hawks’ play-off franchise-record 15 from behind the arc to recapture the home-court advantage.
“Our bench has been key for us all year,” Millsap said. “We feel we have one of the best benches in the NBA. We couldn’t have won the game without them.”
The Hawks can close out the best-of-seven series at home on Thursday in game six to become just the sixth number eight seed to upset a number one in play-off history.
“We need to close them out on Thursday because we don’t want to come back here to their place,” Korver said.
The Hawks shot lights out in the game-breaking 41-19 second quarter to take a 61-40 halftime cushion. The visitors hit 13-of-16 shots, including 9-of-11 from behind the arc led by Scott’s five to highlight a 30-6 run.
“It was about time, I was due,” Scott said. “When the first one went in I just started shooting it.”
Atlanta opened up an 80-50 third quarter bulge and appeared to be cruising to a lopsided win. But the Pacers awoke and went on a 37-16 burst capped by C.J. Watson’s layup to pull within 96-87 with 4:04 remaining.
“We played not to lose instead of going out there and taking the win,” Millshap explained.
But Korver nailed a momentum-stopping triple to put the Hawks up by a dozen en route to their second win in the series at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Paul George topped the Pacers with 26 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and six steals. David West, Lance Stephenson and George Hill netted 16 points apiece.