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Pacers rely on reserves in win over Hawks

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Lose one starter, two starters, even three starters, it didn't matter for the Indiana Pacers against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

The Pacers turned to their bench and the reserves had no problem stepping up to help out.

Swingman Gerald Green scored 19 points and rookie Orlando Johnson added 15 points to help the Pacers beat the Hawks 100-94 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"We have guys who can step up in anytime," Pacers point guard D.J. Augustin said. "We're a good team and we keep working hard."

Center Roy Hibbert added 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks for Indiana, which was coming off a disappointing loss to Chicago during the weekend.

Forward Josh Smith scored 20 points for Atlanta.

The victory moved the Pacers percentage points back in front of the New York Knicks for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

"A very, very important win for our team," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Big picture for us, we got a big win with three starters out. A team win."

The Pacers were supposed to struggle because they were without starters David West (knee), George Hill (groin) and Lance Stephenson (hip).

Well, that's what was supposed to happen.

Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph combined for 26 points and 14 rebounds at power forward in West's absence.

The Pacers led by as many as 18 points in the first half and eventually pushed their lead to 28 in the second half before the Hawks, who failed to lock up a playoff spot, caused some uneasiness.

Atlanta coach Larry Drew benched his starters in the fourth quarter. The move worked. The Hawks picked up their defensive intensity and eventually got as close as four points in the final minute.

"The most disappointing thing was in the third quarter, when we just lost our composure, particularly with the officiating," Drew said. "We didn't handle it in the right way and we lost our composure. The way we responded took us out of our game.

"It's something that cannot happen. It's something that we've talked about. We have to have a road mentality of just playing."

The Pacers ended any thought of a disappointing loss when Augustin found Green wide open in the corner for a 3-pointer. Green could have passed up the shot to let more clock run off, but he shot the 3-pointer and it went in to put Indiana up 97-90 with 34.4 seconds left.

"Gerald is not a shy person when it comes to shooting, so I knew when I saw him open he was going to shoot it and knock it down," Augustin said.

Vogel said, "It's not a bad shot if it goes in."

NOTES: Hill and Stephenson suffered their injuries in Saturday's loss at Chicago. Neither injury is expected to keep either player sidelined for an extended period. West missed his fifth straight game with a back injury. Augustin and Green started for Hill and Stephenson. Hansbrough continues to start for West at power forward. ... Former Pacer Dahntay Jones started for injured Devin Harris at shooting guard for Atlanta. ""I like his presence defensively, his energy defensively," Drew said. "He gives us a guy we can allow to play one-on-one. He can defend three positions and with the versatility of this Indiana team, that's important."... Vogel said there's a chance that injured forward Danny Granger could see some time off the bench against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. Granger has missed all but five games this season because of a left knee injury. ... Hawks guard Kyle Korver went 2 of 4 on 3-pointers to extend his streak of consecutive games with a made 3 to 64.
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