Ellis scores 26 points to help Pacers stop Hawks, 93-87
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) On a night when Monta Ellis made 10 shots from the field, one attempt that didn't go in fell into the right hands at the right time.
Ellis scored 26 points and the Indiana Pacers beat Atlanta 93-87 on Monday, ending the Hawks' six-game winning streak.
With the Pacers leading by three, Ellis pulled up for a 3-point try with 16 seconds to play. The ball bounced off the rim, but Ian Mahinmi was waiting for a tip-in that all but sealed it for Indiana.
''Tonight we played with heart and played harder. It felt good making big plays down the stretch – that's what we want,'' Mahinmi said. ''Late down the stretch, making big plays gives me a lot of confidence. I want to keep it going.''
Ellis had 15 points in the first half, and Mahinmi finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 24 points and Jeff Teague scored 18. Al Horford had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Hawks had possession down three with less than 30 seconds remaining, but George Hill stole the ball from Teague, leading to Mahinmi's tip-in that stretched the margin to five.
A second-quarter surge by the Pacers gave them a 12-point advantage. Indiana outscored Atlanta 31-13 in the period.
Ellis said he didn't feel well at the morning shootaround but decided to play, calling himself a game-time decision. He shot 50 percent from the floor and went 4 of 9 from behind the arc.
''I'm starting to feel better and once my body feels better I'm able to move like I want,'' Ellis said. ''We just got into them, made it tough on them and forced them to miss shots. If we can force teams to miss shots then we can get into our running game.''
That running game was the difference Monday night.
Trailing by two with less than 4 minutes to play in the first half, the Pacers went on a 16-2 spurt that gave them a 52-40 lead at the break. Mahinmi scored seven of Indiana's 16 points during the run.
That gave Indiana just enough cushion to keep the Hawks at bay in the fourth. Atlanta never got closer than three points in the second half.
Teague's turnover late in the game was one of 22 by Atlanta that resulted in 26 points for the Pacers. Indiana coach Frank Vogel credited his team's defensive intensity. Vogel said the second period was the best defensive quarter the Pacers have had all season.
Indiana forced 13 turnovers in the first half.
''Tonight's game was a game of spurts and they were better,'' Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. ''Collectively we didn't play well enough. I think at halftime we had 13 turnovers for 20 points and we were down 12, putting us in a tough spot. It put us in a hole the rest of the night.''
Hawks: Atlanta's winning streak had been the longest active streak in the NBA.
Pacers: Indiana is 15-2 when holding opponents under 100 points. The Pacers are 10-0 when their foes score fewer than 90. … For the ninth time this season, Indiana forced 20 or more turnovers. The Pacers are 8-1 when reaching that plateau.
OFF THE BENCH
Indiana got 35 points from its reserves. Solomon Hill and Chase Budinger each had 10.
After winning Eastern Conference player of the month honors in November, Pacers All-Star forward Paul George has hit a horrid streak of shooting in the last 10 days. He hasn't scored more than 18 points since Dec. 19. George, who is averaging 24.8 points per game, has just 46 points over his last four games.
Hawks: At Houston on Tuesday.
Pacers: At Chicago on Wednesday.