Indiana Pacers end skid, hold on to beat Atlanta Hawks

May 6, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) catches the ball while Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) defends in the second quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Caris LeVert scored nine of his 31 points in the final three minutes to help the Indiana Pacers hold off the visiting Atlanta Hawks 133-126 on Thursday in Indianapolis.

The Pacers saw an 18-point second-half lead disappear when the Hawks got to within 122-121 on a basket by Clint Capela with 3:06 remaining. But LeVert responded with a basket and added a three-point play with 1:08 to push the lead back to six points.

Indiana snapped a two-game losing streak and slowed a fall that had seen it drop four of the last five games. The win helped ease the tension that came to a head on Wednesday when assistant coach Greg Foster and Goga Bitadze had a heated exchange on the court, an incident that caused the team to suspend Foster for a game and hit Bitadze with an undisclosed fine.

Indiana (31-35) also got 30 points, eight rebounds and nine assists from Domantas Sabonis and 19 points from reserve T.J. McConnell.

Atlanta (37-31) was led by Trae Young with 30 points and 10 assists, Bogdan Bogdanovic with 28, including six 3-pointers, and John Collins with 25 points.

The Pacers shot 61.2 percent from the floor in the first half, when they rolled up a 72-58 lead, and finished at 62.1 percent for the game. Indiana grew the lead to 18 points when a Sabonis basket made it 76-58 with 11:03 remaining before the Hawks began their comeback.

Atlanta, with Young scoring 17 in the third quarter, twice cut the lead to six points before the Pacers regained control and took a 110-96 lead into the final quarter. The Hawks twice got to within a point, but never took the lead.

Indiana won two of the three games against Atlanta this season and has won 13 of the last 16 meetings.

The Pacers complete their three-game homestand on Saturday against Washington. Atlanta is off until Monday, when it hosts Washington.

–Field Level Media