ATLANTA — Josh Smith scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, leading the Hawks to a 97-87 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night that snapped Atlanta’s three-game home losing streak.
The Hawks, who had fallen behind by big margins in each game on the homestand, got off to a good start. Atlanta built a 21-point lead in the first half and withstood repeated runs by Indiana over the final two quarters.
Joe Johnson added 20 points, while Kirk Hinrich (17) and Tracy McGrady (13) contributed valuable minutes off the bench.
Danny Granger scored 21 points to lead the Pacers. Indiana has lost nine in a row in Atlanta, a streak dating to 2006.
The Hawks hit enough shots to hold off Indiana. With the Pacers closing, Hinrich swished a 3-pointer, then Smith slammed in a rebound with his left hand after Marvin Williams missed a jumper, leaving the rim shaking and the crowd roaring.
David West and Tyler Hansbrough added 15 points apiece for Indiana, while Roy Hibbert had 10 points and 10 rebounds. But the Hawks, with only one true healthy center on the roster, outrebounded the Pacers 45-33. Atlanta also won the running game, finishing with a 28-11 edge in fast-break points.
Right from the tip, the Hawks raced to an 8-1 lead and stretched the margin to double figures before the game was 7 minutes old, moving the ball and hustling on defense like they did before their recent slide.
The biggest cheers went up when lumbering center Zaza Pachulia came up with an offensive rebound, then flipped a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Williams for a dunk.
After his nifty play early on, Pachulia had some ugly moments toward the end.
First, he missed a dunk after Smith dove to the court to retrieve a loose ball and flipped a pass forward to his center, lumbering all alone in front of everyone else. Then, apparently losing track of where he was on a fast break, Pachulia took a pass and seemed ready to go in for another dunk attempt, only to realize he was too far from the hoop. He was called for walking instead.