|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , November 29, 2019
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana Attendance: 15,827
Surging Pacers take on struggling Hawks
An Eastern Conference matchup of teams on starkly contrasting trajectories pits the struggling Atlanta Hawks against the host Indiana Pacers on Friday.
Atlanta has dropped eight in a row. Indiana won its fourth straight game, and eighth in the last 10, with a 121-102 rout of the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
Domantas Sabonis and T.J. Warren both scored 23 points, Malcolm Brogdon added 22 points, Jeremy Lamb scored 18 points and T.J. McConnell's 12 off the bench rounded out the Pacers' leading production.
The balanced scoring effort offered a snapshot of the team's approach this season. Indiana comes into Friday's game boasting five players who average between 12.1 and 19 points per game, led by Brogdon.
Indiana also has gotten plenty of contributions from its subs. Justin Holiday is averaging 7.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game; Aaron Holiday is posting 9.9 points and 3.5 assists per game. McConnell is adding 7.4 points and 4.9 assists per game.
"That's just how our team is. We genuinely care about each other and genuinely are excited about someone else doing well, and that's the key to having a good team," Justin Holiday told the Indianapolis Star. "We all know I've played on a lot of teams, and not every team is like that."
Atlanta's has gotten more of its scoring from second-year guard Trae Young, who comes in averaging 26.7 points per game.
The Hawks have other scorers sharing the workload, with Jabari Parker putting up 17.8 points per game. Rookie De'Andre Hunter (12.1 ppg.) has also come alive in recent outings.
But a difference in surging Indiana and sagging Atlanta is that the Hawks' contributions beyond the top three-to-four scorers decline steeply.
While the Hawks rank 27th in the NBA in points allowed at 117.7 per game, coach Lloyd Pierce told 92.9 The Game in Atlanta that improving the offense is central to bolstering the defense.
"The offense takes care of itself, there's different ways to improve the defense," Pierce said. "If we take care of the basketball, create great shot opportunities, and make the opponent work on defense, that's our best defense, because it slows the game down for us and it slows them down offensively."
On its current streak, Indiana is scoring 118.3 points per game -- an increasing of nine points per game over its season-long average. Three of the margins in this spell have been by at least 12 points.
In contrast, six of the eight losses during Atlanta's ongoing skid have come by double-digit margins. The Hawks held a 10-point halftime team on Monday against Minnesota before losing by 12.
Atlanta played Milwaukee within nine on Wednesday, paced by a 33-point, 14-rebound effort from Parker. However, giving up 39 bench points to the Bucks while getting just 14 points from the reserves made the difference.
Atlanta's depth concerns have been compounded with the ongoing suspension of John Collins, who was averaging just under 18 points per game when he received a 25-game suspension earlier this month for violating the NBA's drug policy.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 28, 2019