Korver ignites Atlanta comeback

Atlanta Hawks 89, Indiana Pacers 86

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Atlanta's Kyle Korver scored eight of his 13 points during a late run as the Hawks rallied to knock off the Pacers by three.  JOHN BAZEMORE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JOHN BAZEMORE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Atlanta's Kyle Korver scored eight of his 13 points during a late run as the Hawks rallied to knock off the Pacers by three.

ATLANTA — When Kyle Korver was missing shots and the Atlanta Hawks were struggling, coach Larry Drew grabbed Korver near the bench and told the 3-point specialist to keep shooting.

Korver nodded, said he would and then kept his word when the game was on the line.

Korver scored eight consecutive points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, in a late 18-0 run and the Hawks, who trailed by 14 points early in the fourth quarter, beat the Indiana Pacers 89-86 on Wednesday night.

Korver missed five of six 3-pointers in the first three quarters, but Drew said he remained confident in his shooter.

“Absolutely, because I believe in him,” Drew said. “I’ve seen him enough. I believe in his ability. Shooters have that mentality. They can miss five and come back and make the next shot.”

Korver, acquired from the Chicago Bulls in the off-season for a trade exception and cash, said he appreciated the vote of confidence from his new team.

“It’s good when you know your coach and teammates have your back and keep passing you the ball,” said Korver, who finished with 13 points.

Indiana led 83-69 before Atlanta started the comeback. Korver hit back-to-back 3-pointers and added another jumper, cutting the lead to 83-82.

Al Horford, who led Atlanta with 16 points, said Korver “bailed us out tonight. He had good looks all game long.”

“He just couldn’t hit them. He’s a veteran player. He knows what he has to do, and he just kept shooting the ball with confidence. They eventually fell when it mattered.”

Hill said the Pacers “broke down” in the final period.

“Everybody,” Hill said. “It starts by everybody holding each other accountable. We’ve got to figure out what we can do better to be a better team. It starts with myself.”

It was a bad ending to a bad day for the Pacers. The team announced that forward Danny Granger is expected to miss up to three months after receiving an injection in his left knee to treat patellar tendinosis. Granger, who hasn’t played this season, averaged 18.7 points to lead Indiana last season.

Teague had 15 points for Atlanta. Korver scored 13 points. Zaza Pachulia had 6 points and 14 rebounds.

The Hawks outscored the Pacers 24-9 in the final period.

“It was a struggle to score down the stretch,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. “We competed our tails off, it just wasn’t enough.

“We were trying everything we could.”

Atlanta’s 18-0 run matched the 18 unanswered points by the Pacers in the third period, when they appeared to take control of the game.

“We had the last run,” Korver said. “It was a good gut-check for our team. We were kind of praying there for a minute.”

The Hawks led 62-56 before going scoreless for more than 6 minutes, missing nine straight shots from the field, as Indiana built its lead. Smith and Pachulia were called for technical fouls during the run.

Drew tried a big lineup in hopes of matching up against Indiana’s 7-foot-2 Hibbert and the 6-9 West inside. Pachulia, normally a backup, started at center as Horford shifted to power forward. Smith moved from power forward to small forward. Atlanta also went bigger in its backup with Korver at shooting guard.

The added size made little difference early as West had 12 points in the first quarter, but the Hawks finished with a 51-41 edge in rebounds.

NOTES: Pacers F-C Jeff Pendergraph (concussion) was inactive. ... Drew said C Johan Petro, who has been held out with lower back pain, will remain inactive until he can log enough practice time to feel comfortable in games. ... Smith missed four straight free throws in the opening minutes of the second half. He had 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds. ... The Pacers blocked seven shots, including two by Hibbert and two by Gerald Green.


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