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Hawks outlast Pacers to even series

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Roy Hibbert was lying on the floor of the visitors' locker room as reporters and camera crews tried to avoid stepping on his feet as they jostled for position. Finally, he rose and went to his chair.

"This," he said, "is going to be one heck of a series right now I guess. I thought we'd be able to at least split down here; we didn't. This is going to be one physical series."

And how.

So physical and fast-paced was the Atlanta Hawks' 102-91 Game 4 win over the Indiana Pacers that Hawks guard Devin Harris needed an IV at halftime.

The best-of-seven series is tied at 2-2. Game 5 is Wednesday in Indianapolis.

Josh Smith had the hot hand for the Hawks, scoring 16 of his career playoff-high 29 points in the first half. He also had 11 rebounds. Al Horford, who picked up his fourth personal foul midway through the third quarter, scored 18 points and had five rebounds for Atlanta.

"We contested pretty much every shot they took," Smith said. "That's what it's going to take."

Kyle Korver, freed up by the Hawks' spacing, scored 11 first-half points and finished with 19 points, including 15 points on five made 3-point shots.

"They just went in tonight," Korver said with a shrug. "Just knocked them down. I don't think there's anything to it, really. I either made it or air-balled it."

Jeff Teague had 13 points and Anthony Tolliver scored nine for the Hawks.

The Hawks hit 7 of 8 3-point shots in the second quarter and outscored the Pacers 35-19. Atlanta led by as many as 19 points and went into the locker room at halftime with a 57-40 lead.

The game tightened in the third quarter when the Pacers stormed back on a 15-1 run to cut the Hawks' lead to 65-61 at 4:08. The Hawks didn't score for more than seven minutes. Harris ended the drought by going end-to-end to put the Hawks back up 69-61.

The Pacers outscored the Hawks 22-12 in the third, and began the final quarter down 69-62. Then the fouls started piling up as the exhausted players crashed into each other on nearly every play. That, at least, slowed the pace.

"Energy and effort," Smith said. "If we play with those two words and play together -- I take that back, make it three words -- we're a pretty good basketball team."

Paul George, matched against Smith, scored 21 points -- 14 in the fourth quarter. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.

Horford hounded David West all night. West was held to 15 points and six rebounds.

Roy Hibbert hit the Pacers' first two shots but was relatively quiet after that, scoring 14 points and pulling down seven rebounds. George Hill added 12 points for Indiana while Lance Stephenson compiled 10 points and nine rebounds, and D.J. Augustin added eight points.

"That's a great Atlanta team over there," Hill said. "We knew it wasn't going to be an easy series. We knew they weren't going to lie down. It's always tough for us to play here. It's good we have two more games on our home court if necessary."

NOTES: Atlanta coach Larry Drew was unable to take a phone call from former Hawks center Jason Collins because the team was in the middle of practice, and Drew wasn't able to reach Collins later. However, Drew left a message of support and said, "I had him in a jersey and he was just a great guy. And he was a phenomenal teammate. I underline that." Collins, who played for the Celtics and Wizards this season, is the first active male athlete in a major American pro sport to come out as gay, which he did in a Sports Illustrated article released online Monday. ... Drew opened his pregame press conference with a big "thank you" to Hawks ownership for sending a private plane to Florida to pick up Johan Petro so the center could play in Monday's game. Petro left the team on Sunday to be with his wife, who gave birth to a son at 2 p.m. ET on Monday. ... Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Petro's presence or absence didn't affect his team. "It's less about what they do and more about what we do," he said. "He's a good player playing well for them, but this series is about what we do, about how we handle our business." Speaking of that, Vogel said he wanted to see his team "improve our transition defense. I want to see us play with a higher offensive motor. I thought we were half-speed on a lot of our reaction and passive in our ball toughness and our screening (in Saturday's loss)."

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