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Pacers force a Game 7 with late comeback win over Hawks

May 1, 2014, 10:36 PM EDT

David West, Lance Stephenson David West, Lance Stephenson

Near the end of the third quarter and well into the fourth of a Game 6 between the Hawks and the Pacers that had a top-seeded Indiana team facing elimination, it appeared as though Atlanta had overcome its early jitters and was ready to strike.

As the Pacers had built a nine-point lead and largely looked to be in control thanks to some dismal Hawks shooting, Mike Scott threw down a monster of a slam on Ian Mahinmi late in the third, and the momentum shift seemed palpable. Atlanta closed the period on a 15-5 run to take a three-point lead into the fourth, and the final two scores were both stellar plays by Jeff Teague inside, both coming over what’s left of Roy Hibbert.

It all was going Atlanta’s way, and this game seemed to be slipping away from the Pacers just as three others in this series had before. But the Hawks reminded us why they were the eight seed down the stretch, while Indiana managed to survive. The Pacers forced a Game 7 by closing this one on a 16-4 run to earn a 95-88 victory.

Atlanta, remember, finished the season six games below .500 for a reason. Their style offensively doesn’t lend itself to easy victories, considering they shoot threes at both a high volume and a low percentage. The Hawks were second in the league in attempts per game from beyond the arc, but middle of the pack in terms of percentage. In Game 6, they shot just 9-of-35 from three-point distance, good for a mark of only 25.7 percent.

While the Hawks made silly mistakes down the stretch to give this one away — poor shot selection, terrible turnovers and an unawareness of the time remaining and the game situation — the Pacers turned to a rock-solid veteran to close the game out.

It wasn’t Paul George who made the critical plays in the final moments, though George was big for his team overall with 24 points and eight rebounds. It was David West who simply refused to let his team lose, scoring 12 of his 24 points in the final period in 9:26 on the floor, including the driving basket with 46 seconds left that put his team up for good.

This was a gritty, season-saving win for the Pacers, on a night where it would have been easy to fold given the way this series has played out. It’s all about surviving and advancing for Indiana, and a Game 7 on their home floor on Saturday now gives them the perfect opportunity to do exactly that.

  1. p31squared - May 1, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    D. West was a beast and willed Pacers to that win. I watched the replay and if NBA suspends Paul George for that half step on the G. Hill altercation with Antic, when he was already standing up, it would be a huge disservice to fans everywhere. They deserve to watch a Game 7 featuring both teams’ best.

    • kinggw - May 1, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      I’m sure Wizards and Mavs fans thought the same thing about the Nene and Blair suspensions, respectively.

      He barely left the bench area, but if the NBA is being stringent, it shouldn’t matter and they should suspend. Personally, I don’t think he should be suspended. Not because of Game 7 implications, but the fact the violation wasn’t egregious.

      But what do I know. The one guy I thought should be suspended this postseason, McRoberts, was not suspended and the both Nene and Blair were suspended for pretty weak violations.

  2. biggestredmiami - May 1, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Everyone talks about Paul George and Roy Hibbert all of the time, but David West is the leader of that team and really deserves more credit.

    • innovativethinking87 - May 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      He’s the best player on their team

      • bougin89 - May 2, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        Thats going too far. Way too far. Paul George is clearly the best player but I agree that West is the leader for the Pacers.

    • southbeachtalent - May 2, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      agreed, came through last night.. again.

    • unxpexted1 - May 2, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      Well if that’s the case, where has he been, if he’s the best player. He’s disappeared this whole series until last night. PG is the only one that’s been consistent for them and leads them in every major statistical category.

      • gostlcards5 - May 2, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        But you’re overstating. West has had more good games in the series than just Game 6.

  3. jzone954 - May 1, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    I’ll say it again, this is the second game I’ve seen ATL blow this series down the stretch. Great stuff by Mr. West, really came through for them . “Big time player , make big time plays, in bigtime games” -Santana Moss

    • ranfan12 - May 1, 2014 at 11:32 PM

      Yeah that really sucked for the hawks. Someone fumbled the ball during that chance to extend the lead and it went down hill the rest of the quarter lol.

  4. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 1, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Worked all year for Game 7 to be at home

  5. eugenesaxe1 - May 1, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    IND might as well put Bynum on the court, apparently Hibbert has checked out.

    • southbeachtalent - May 2, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      hell of a cheerleader though! saw an old man shouting at him to sit down last night, hilarious.

    • gostlcards5 - May 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      He didn’t check out. He’s had a tough series, for sure. If he had been moping on the bench all game, then I would agree, but he acted like a leader (certainly moreso than when he said the “selfish dudes…” stuff to the media). He was fired up on the bench, and when he came in late, even though he didn’t score, he impacted the game by protecting the rim and getting a few rebounds. Also, he only had one recorded block, but I’m pretty sure he actually got more than that.

  6. atahualpaoxford - May 2, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    Let’s go Pacers….

  7. ranfan12 - May 2, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    If pacers lose this last game at home….

  8. hungryhungryhibbert - May 2, 2014 at 2:17 AM

    wow, Vogel almost gave this game and season away. I know it’s radical, but maybe play Scola? I
    actually think Scola should start and west should finish, however west is the heart and soul, so I understand why it isn’t happing. Vogel however absolutely needs to sit hibbert until the next round! I believe in you 55, but your skill set doesn’t translate to a win in this franchise altering game 7, sit back and collect your money and think About NENE, he is waiting for your defense in the next round

  9. bucrightoff - May 2, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    Should be interesting to see if Paul George gets suspended. By the letter of the law, he was on the bench when the altercation began, and eventually had two feet clearly on the floor, which should be a suspension (a la Amare and Boris Diaw against the Spurs in 07).

  10. obmig - May 2, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Still get the feeling they will fall flat at home in game 7

  11. unxpexted1 - May 2, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Least Vogel finally smartened up and went small. PG and David West in their interviews hinted that was the way they needed to play.

  12. jattsoorma - May 2, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    just prolonging the inevitable.

  13. nard100 - May 2, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Sigh. Looks like the wheels are back on the Pacers bandwagon.

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