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Pacers finally win in Atlanta, on to 2nd round
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“It’s nice to be able to get it done here,” Hibbert said. “We showed a lot of resolve when the other team made their run.”
For the Hawks, it figures to be a tumultuous offseason.
Atlanta has only three players who are definitely under contract for next season _ Horford is the lone starter in the group _ and there could be a new coach, too. Larry Drew is in the final year of his contract, and general manager Danny Ferry figures to want his own man on the bench as he heads to his second season.
Smith, an Atlanta native who has played for the team ever since he was drafted out of high school eight seasons ago, is among those heading into free agency.
“There’s plenty of time to think about what the future presents,” he said. “I’m not really concerned about that right now.”
If that’s it for Smith in Atlanta, he missed his final shot, a 20-footer clanking off the rim.
The Hawks couldn’t play much worse than they did in the second quarter. They showed little energy. They settled for some truly awful shots on the perimeter. They missed on those rare times they did get a decent look.
Kyle Korver made the Hawks’ only basket of the period on a jumper with 10:35 left. After that, they missed their last 13 shots before heading to the locker room to a round of boos from the home crowd.
If not for Indiana having its own offensive issues _ the Pacers made only 36.6 percent (15 of 41) _ the game would’ve been a blowout. As it was, the Hawks trailed just 37-29.
Atlanta’s woes shifted to the defensive end in the third. The Hawks continually got lost on switches, at one point leaving Hill all alone for a 3-pointer. He knocked down the shot and Harris looked around, his arms in the air wondering what was happening to his team.
While clearly seeming to sense his three-year run in Atlanta was over, Drew said he was “really, really proud” of a team that many felt would have trouble just making the playoffs after trading away All-Star Joe Johnson and bringing in a bunch of guys in the final year of their contracts.
Even the coach knew he was a lame duck, having the option on his contact picked up last summer but not getting an extension.
“When you’ve got 11 or 12 guys on one-year deals, and the coach is in his last year, it could’ve gone either way,” said Drew, who has led the Hawks to three straight playoff appearances but couldn’t get out of the first round the last two. “We hung in there and stuck with it.”
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