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Pacers 106, Hawks 83

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Home court is still holding serve with the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks.

The Pacers took a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series with the Hawks when they beat them 106-83 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday. Game 6 is on Friday in Atlanta.

David West got out of his season-long funk to lead the Pacers with 24 points. Paul George made his first seven shots and finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana. Al Horford led the Hawks with 14 points.

The Pacers and Hawks have played nine times this season and the home team has won each game.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel was outcoached by Atlanta's Larry Drew in Games 3 and 4, so he knew something had to change.

He altered his rotation to try to neutralize Hawks forward Josh Smith. George started out on Smith, but instead of using Gerald Green, who has played poorly throughout the series, Vogel turned to Jeff Pendergraph for his size and strength. Smith was held to 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting. He picked up three fouls less than five minutes into the third quarter to give him five and send him to the bench for the rest of the quarter. He also picked up a technical foul.

Indiana finally had a good defensive game, holding the Hawks to 33 percent shooting.

The Pacers blew the game open in the third quarter. They scored 18 of the first 23 points of the period to go up 68-48 with 5:42 left in the quarter.

The Hawks wouldn't go away, though. And it wasn't because of their shooting in the quarter (28.6 percent). The Pacers were called for 13 fouls in the quarter, allowing the Hawks to attempt 19 free throws. They made 16 of them.

The Pacers got their lead back up to 21 midway through the fourth quarter, causing Drew to empty his bench.

NOTES: The Pacers have been in scramble mode since Drew changed up his starting lineup and put Johan Petro in to go with Smith and Horford in the frontcourt. "I'd like to speed it up even more," Drew said. "We want to run, attack the rim and get them in an up-and-down match." ... Vogel gave his starters the option of taking Tuesday off. Lance Stephenson, George Hill, Roy Hibbert and West practiced. George decided to take the day off. George went into Game 5 averaging a series-high 40 minutes a game. "He's a guy I think needed the rest more than anyone," Vogel said. "I would have preferred David and George, and even Lance took the day off, but they wanted to come shoot, so I'm not going to hold them out." ... The Pacers' public relations staff was honored by the Pro Basketball Writers Association as the NBA's top staff for the second time in three years.
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