You could tell from the way the Pacers have been playing that they needed a bit of a wake up call. They've been getting it done against poor teams, but just barely.
Against a team like the Atlanta Hawks, missing Josh Smith or not, the Pacers were going to be in for a rough night. And I was right. The Pacers got within 3 in the fourth quarter but it felt like the Hawks were never seriously threatened as the Hawks overpowered the Pacers to a 109-100 win.
The loss snapped a 4-game winning streak for the Pacers and put them back to 17-13 for the season.
It was ugly. The Hawks scored their 109 points on 55% shooting. David West did all he could to keep the Pacers in the game with 29 points, including two 3-pointers for some reason, and Paul George again flirted with a triple-double with 18, 9 and 8, but he also had 5 turnovers.
The big news was Roy 'Max Contract' Hibbert, who...wait for it...had 0 points and 1 rebound in 21 minutes while getting dominated by Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. Wrist injury or not, it was embarrassing, and Roy didn't even play down the stretch as Frank Vogel favored Tyler Hansbrough, who took out about 6 players from both sides, including teammate Lance Stephenson. Lance had been playing well (13 points, 5 rebounds) until Psycho-T elbowed him in the head in the fourth quarter, sending him straight to the locker room.
Anyway, I'm sure this is a game the Pacers would like to forget. Their next game is on New Year's Eve against the Memphis Grizzlies. Time to step it up a notch.