John Collins' tip-in, Hawks' 3-point shooting bests young Pacers: Running Thoughts
"A slow start and a lousy three minutes to start the third quarter doomed us in the end," Rick Carlisle said after the Pacers (23-20) suffered their second straight loss.
Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 113-111 loss to the Atlanta Hawks Friday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Happy Friday the 13th!
The Pacers were down three starters: Tyrsese Haliburton, Aaron Nesmith and Myles Turner. Good news is that Oshae Brissett (tight hamstring) is available.
Isaiah Jackson on being without Haliburton: “Of course it hurts us. He’s one of the best point guards in the league. The best, in my opinion. Having him out sort of messes up the team chemistry, but next man up. We know what we have to do.”
It’s unlikely that Turner will play Saturday either. He underwent an MRI on Thursday and it’s getting better. He even did a little shooting today.
Head coach Rick Carlisle pregame: “We’ll see. I think tomorrow is gonna be a tough ask. Next week is more likely.”
With several Pacers out with injuries, two-way guard Trevelin Queen is available.
The Hawks remain without center Clint Capela. Coach Nate McMillan said pregame that he’s making progress, but that there’s no updated timeline.
With Haliburton out indefinitely, it was rookie Andrew Nembhard introduced last during team intros.
Carlisle: “Drew (Nembhard) does things a little differently than Ty does. T.J. (McConnell) has very much his own style so now everyone else will adjust. We made a few tweaks in our walkthrough this afternoon and we’ll adjust as we go.”
Rev It Up!: Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Greg Wilson.
Pacers starters: Nembhard, Hield, Duarte, Mathurin and Jackson.
That’s their top two draft picks from the last two years. Plus Hield.
Jackson on the two draft classes starting, which includes him: “I just seen a bunch of dogs. I feel like everybody competed real well tonight. Like you said, they’re our future in this organization so to see them be out there at the same time and compete, I feel like they did good. We all did.”
Before tip-off, Hawks forward John Collins came over to give Pacers assistant Lloyd Pierce, the former Hawks coach, a big hug. (He does before each reunion.)
Haliburton is walking around with a crutch and he’s sitting at the front of the bench next to the coaching staff. Turner and Nesmith are also here.
Nembhard guarding Trae Young, Mathurin on Collins.
Buddy Hield holding his left wrist. That’s something to watch.
He ended up with 18 points in 39 minutes so it must’ve been fine. I was not able to ask him about it postgame.
7:27: Isaiah Jackson is off to a good start. Three blocks in 27 seconds to save a pair of layups. After falling behind 9-2 and using an early timeout, it's now 15-12 Hawks.
Jackson is gassed and needs a break. Game shape is one thing you lose when not playing. Four points, three rebounds and three blocks for him in less than five minutes.
After the game, I asked him, in hindsight, how beneficial it was to play two games with the Mad Ants to prepare him for this largest opportunity..
“I believe everything happens for a reason. Going down to the Mad Ants got me prepared for tonight and these next couple of games I’ll be playing. I’ve been working nonstop trying to get my wind back. And the Mad Ants games helped. I’m looking to keep getting better, growing every night with the team because even with the guys out, I feel like we can still compete with anybody.”
4:36: Pacers with their first lead, 18-16, via a 14-4 run.
Pacers were in a good spot, in a good flow — but then turnovers and fouls piled up. The Hawks shot 56%, ended the first on a 13-3 run and have a 36-27 lead. Onyeka Okongwu already with 14 and 8. No Pacer with more than five points.
I feel bad for former Pacer Justin Holiday. The veteran, who is Mr. Dependable, is firmly out of the rotation with the Hawks. He’s played a total of five minutes over the last seven games.
Hield, starting and playing with a younger group, is being a lot more vocal.
He just called the guys together for a huddle before free throws to share something.
6:01: Mathurin is shouldering the Pacers’ scoring load. He’s up to 14 points and it’s all come at the basket. Constantly attacking.
Mathurin on picking his spots: “I just feel like it depends on how the defense is playing me. I’m always going to be aggressive, trying to get to the hoop and trying to get my teammates involved.”
5:38: Nembhard with a hesitation dribble, one-handed finish with contact — so smooth that I had to document it. (Watch it here.) Foul on Collins, plus the free throw.
3:07: I thought we were about to see a Statement Challenge by Carlisle — one used early because they’re not getting calls. He looked to his bench and called a quick timeout to challenge … but about 10 second later, he must’ve been told NOT to do so. So then he and Smith had a conversation with official Jason Goldenberg about the no-call.
Hield with a 3-pointer to end the half and give the Pacers a 58-55 lead. It’s also important because they didn’t shoot it well in the half, just 3 for 13 from range. Okongwu has been very productive, with a season-high 18 points and 13 rebounds. (He did not score in the second half.)
The Pacers outscored the Hawks 31-19 in the quarter and Mathurin tallied 12.
**8:30: In just two minutes, the Hawks ran off 14 straight points to go from a 7-point hole to a 7-point advantage. And Carlisle uses a timeout.
This is where Carlisle believes the game shifted. So after the game, they watched back the start to the third quarter as a group to get it out of their system before playing another game in less than 21 hours.