This may seem like a joke, but I promise it's not: The Indiana Pacers scored 49 points in the first three quarters of Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks.
Al Horford had one of the best games of his career with 26 points, 16 rebounds (six offensive) and two blocks, as he led the Hawks to a 90-69 rout of the Pacers.
David West and Paul George had the best nights of anyone wearing a Pacers jersey with 18 and 16 points respectively. But they shot a combined 11-of-25 from the field, which is an indicator of the kind of night the Pacers had as a team.
The first quarter was full of atrocious defense by the Pacers and efficient offense for the Hawks.
The Hawks outscored the Pacers 27-14 in the first quarter, ending on a 12-0 run to put the Pacers behind early on. This was the first quarter of the entire series in which the Hawks outscored the Pacers.
Jeff Teague made a nice transition into being the on-court leader for the Hawks, as he efficiently controlled the Hawks offense, getting everyone involved. Eight players scored a basket in the first quarter alone.
In addition to an efficient offensive start for the Hawks, they also put the Pacers on lockdown, allowing just 27.3 percent shooting from the floor for the Pacers in the first quarter.
The Pacers went five minutes without a basket, spanning the end of the first quarter into the second quarter, while the Hawks went on an impressive 18-0 run.
In the second quarter, with the Hawks pulling away, Horford showed why he's one of the best centers in the game with aggressive play at the rim.
Horford followed that play up a few minutes later with a forceful pin block on Lance Stephenson on one end and a powerful two-handed jam on the other end.
Al Horford went up for a block an just grabbed the ball and then jam'd with 2 hands on a post up next trip down.#ballin— Karlos (@KarlWal7) April 27, 2013
As the Hawks flew on a 23-3 run in the second quarter, West pushed Horford to the ground on the other end in frustration.
Without a second thought, Teague stepped up and pushed West right back, resulting in a stare-down and a grouping the refs had to break up before things got out of control.
The highlight of the game came when Devin Harris dished it behind his back to Josh Smith for a one-handed slam, putting the Hawks up by 26 points with under two left in the first half.
The first half ended with the Pacers putting up 30 points on 24.4 percent shooting from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc. While the Hawks defense was solid, the main reason why the Pacers had 30 points at the half is they simply couldn't hit open shots.
No matter how you look at Game 3, the Hawks simply owned the Pacers in nearly every facet of the game.
They forced more turnovers—with the Pacers committing 22 turnovers to the Hawks' 14—and they absolutely owned the paint.
The Hawks scored 50 points in the paint, as compared to the Pacers' 30 measly points. Considering that Indiana has Roy Hibbert and David West, that's a rather impressive stat.
In addition to the Pacers' pure inability to shoot the ball—ending the night with a playoff-worst 27.2 shooting percentage from the field and 16.0 percent from beyond the arc—their defense was a joke.
In the end, the Hawks won because they brought more energy and more hustle to the floor, as evidenced by their dominance in the paint and their ability to overwhelm the Pacers on defense.
Al Horford joined some impressive company with his 26-point, 16-rebound performance in Game 3.
Al Horford: 5th Hawk to have 20 pts/15 rebounds in playoff gm in last 25 seasons(Moses Malone, Kevin Willis, Dikembe Mutombo, Josh Smith)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 28, 2013
If you're wondering just how bad the Pacers' shooting was in the first half, take a second and check out this shot chart. Spoiler alert—you'll like this a lot if red is your favorite color.
The Pacers' first half shooting chart is so, so red. twitter.com/BleacherReport…— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 28, 2013
During the Hawks' dominant first-half run, the Pacers showed us why they aren't the favorites to contend with the Miami Heat for the Eastern Conference crown.
The Pacers were 3-27 from the field during the Hawks 42-10 run— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 28, 2013
Not only did the Pacers play an awful overall game, they also helped the Hawks set a franchise record on defense.
From Hawks PR - 30 points allowed to the Pacers is the lowest total given up in a first half in franchise playoff history. #PACERSvHAWKS— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) April 28, 2013
David West lost his cool for a minute during the first half by pushing Al Horford to the ground. Unlike what most NBA players would do, Jeff Teague pushed him back, showing us all once again his trademark toughness.
Things getting heated between the two teams. A Flagrant-1 is called on David West and a technical foul called Jeff Teague.— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 27, 2013
The Hawks will look to even things up in Atlanta on Monday night as they take the floor against the Pacers at 7:30 p.m. ET for Game 4.
Atlanta bounces back to blow out Indiana, 90-69. Al Horford finishes with 26 Points and 16 rebounds. Pacers lead series 2-1.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 28, 2013
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