INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana coach Frank Vogel wants to see his team come out of the All-Star break the way it opened the season when the Pacers won 16 of their first 17 games.
They’re off to a good start.
“We understood the dog days (of the season) would be a grind,” Vogel said. “Now that’s behind us.”
Not only does Indiana want to start the second half of the season like it did back in October, the Pacers want to be even better. That could be scary for the rest of the NBA.
“We want to peak towards the end of the season and we’re on our way,” center Roy Hibbert said. “The last 20 games, we want to play our best ball.”
The Pacers, who return from the break with three games in five days, went on a 12-2 run in the third quarter on a basket by West, two 3-pointers by George and a dunk and layup by George Hill to stretch the lead to 73-54.
The Pacers put the game away when Ian Mahinmi converted a three-point play and Danny Granger hit a 3 to make it 101-82.
For Atlanta, starting a stretch of four games in five nights, the team’s injury woes didn’t get any better.
Forward DeMarre Carroll was listed as a game-time decision, but didn’t play for the second straight game because of a left hamstring strain. And center Gustavo Ayon left in the first half with a right shoulder injury and didn’t play in the second half.
The Pacers almost shut the door on the Hawks right from the start, using a 16-0 run to build a 22-5 lead early in the first quarter.