Hawks fall to Pacers in final regular-season game

INDIANAPOLIS -- There’s something about the Pacers that the Hawks just can’t shake this season. In the final game of the regular season, the Hawks fell to the Pacers 157-115 on Sunday afternoon at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Here are five observations.

1. The Pacers just had the Hawks scrambling, with Myles Turner and Pascal Siakam stretching the floor so early. They scored all 19 of the Pacers’ points before Tyrese Haliburton scored a running layup to continue their early 21-6 run.

The Hawks eventually allowed to the Pacers to knock down over 70% of their baskets by end of the first quarter and ceded a season-high 49 first-quarter points. The Pacers dropped 86 points in the first half eventually tying their record for most points in a first half.

The Pacers play with the second fastest pace in the league, and they decimated the Hawks regardless of whether the ball went in or not. They averaged 155.6 points per 100 transition plays to finish the day in the 90th percentile, according to Cleaning the Glass.

“We didn’t turn it over a lot, but when we did, they were dunks,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “There were a few possessions that we tried to focus on at halftime where we actually did defend through the clock. It didn’t happen enough. They put a lot of pressure on you in close-out situations. They’re attacking the rim and sometimes it’s a good-to-great game for them. And that’s credit to them.”

2. The Hawks did not have two of their rotational centers in Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu. They rested Capela on Sunday afternoon, while Okongwu will miss significant time rehabbing from a procedure to address inflammation in his left toe.

So, center Bruno Fernando started the game with Mouhamed Gueye coming off the bench.

The Hawks had to sub in Gueye early with Fernando picking up two early fouls trying to help contain Turner and Siakam. Gueye scored a career-high 19 points, had nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals as he returned to playing the five.

“He was a bright spot tonight,” Snyder said.

When the Hawks drafted Gueye, they had plans to develop his skills as a wing because of the versatility in his game. Though Gueye may give up some size, he makes up for it with his motor and hustle.

" I was really comfortable,” Gueye said. “It’s different than the three or four. I was more comfortable getting involved in the game, trying to create for me and my teammates.”

3. The Hawks tied the game at 62 points apiece with Dejounte Murray scoinng 20 of his 32 points in the second. He played the whole quarter and he along with Trae Young, Mo Gueye, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and De’Andre Hunter upped the size on the defensive end that allowed them to force stops.

They went on a four-minute 21-8 run, holding the Pacers to 4-of-6 shooting from the field.

“If there’s something we could take would be the fact that we were down the way we were early, and we were able to come and get back in the game,” Snyder said.

4. Young tied Doc Rivers for first on the Hawks All-Time assists list with 3,866 career assists. He found Fernando with an alley-oop with 7:31 to play in the third quarter.

He then found Murray, who had 32 points by the end, just to the left of the key with 9:56 to play in the game for assist No. 11. Then 20 seconds later which gave him sole possession of the record. Young has 3,868 assists over his six-year career.

“I just knew when DJ got it and had a good look he was gonna knock it down,” Young said.

The Hawks guard scored 12 points and had 12 assists.

Young has played three games since he returned the rotation but he’s getting his wind back under him and getting re-acclimated to the team.

5. The Hawks knew who and where they would play but they just didn’t know the time. With their loss to the Pacers, they helped them clinch the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Magic won and clinched fifth, which placed the Sixers in seventh.

So, the Hawks will face the Bulls on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. now that the final five spots in the Conference have been decided.

Stat to know

590 -- The Hawks have given up 590 points to the Pacers this season.


“I think that’s the fun part, being able to do a lot on the floor. So I’m just going to keep bringing the energy, keep doing whatever they asked me to do.” Mo Gueye on his development what he’s learned this season.

Up Next

The Hawks head to Chicago to face the Bulls in the 9-10 game of the Eastern Conference Play-In on Wednesday.