Thanks to Atlanta going on a ridiculous 41-19 run in the second quarter, the Hawks now find themselves one win shy of advancing to the second round of the NBA Playoffs following a 107-97 win on Monday night in Indiana against the Pacers.
With the Pacers winning Game 4 on Saturday, a Hawks loss in Game 5 could have spelled the end of the season as they would have had to win two straight. Like all the other games in this series, the first quarter was evenly matched with Indiana leading Atlanta 21-20.
Then came the second quarter and the floodgates opened. Mike Scott made four straight three-pointers to give Atlanta a 33-21 lead. By the end of the second quarter, Scott had scored 17 points, going a perfect 6-6 from the field and 5-5 from beyond the arc. Scott’s three-point shooting was the second best in NBA Playoff history and the most since 2002 when Antoine Walker made six trey’s for the Celtics.
Atlanta went into halftime with a very comfortable 60-41 lead and were able to stretch it out into a 30-point lead midway into the third quarter. From there they were simply able to ride out the rest of the game despite some offensive flurries by Indy late in the game.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was asked to explain how Scott was so in the zone in the second quarter. His answer may not have been expected, but it was honest. “I can't,” Coach Bud simply replied. “If you could explain it, you'd bottle it up."
When the game was over, six Hawks, including four starters, had scored double figures. Despite playing just 25 minutes, Shelvin Mack led the team with 20 points and added five assists and two steals to his stat line. Paul Millsap finished with 18 points and eight rebounds and Kyle Korver pulled down another nine rebounds to go with his 16 points in which he was 5-10 from long distance.
Now with a 3-2 lead in the series, Atlanta will try to advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season when they topped the Orlando Magic. For those wondering, Indiana has not fared well when heading into a Game 6 trailing in the series. The Pacers are 0-10 all-time in those playoff scenarios. Should Atlanta win, they would be just the sixth No. 8 seed to advance to the second round.