Josh Smith scores 28, Hawks beat Pacers 97-87

PAUL NEWBERRY AP Sports Writer Published:

ATLANTA (AP) -- Josh Smith scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, leading the Hawks to a 97-87 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night that snapped Atlanta's three-game home losing streak.

The Hawks, who had fallen behind by big margins in each game on the homestand, finally got off to a good start. Atlanta built a 21-point lead in the first half and withstood repeated runs by Indiana over the final two quarters.

Joe Johnson added 20 points for the Hawks, while Kirk Hinrich (17) and Tracy McGrady (13) contributed valuable minutes off the bench.

Danny Granger scored 21 points to lead the Pacers, who couldn't overcome the big deficit after winning the night before at home. Indiana has lost nine straight in Atlanta, a streak dating to 2006.

The Hawks hit enough shots to hold off Indiana. With the Pacers closing, Hinrich swished a 3-pointer, then Smith slammed in a rebound with his left hand after Marvin Williams missed a jumper, leaving the rim shaking and the crowd roaring.

David West and Tyler Hansbrough added 15 points apiece for Indiana, while Roy Hibbert had 10 points and 10 rebounds. But the Hawks, with only one true healthy center on the roster, outrebounded the Pacers 45-33. Atlanta also won the running game, finishing with a 28-11 edge in fast-break points.

Right from the tip, the Hawks raced to an 8-1 lead and stretched the margin to double figures before the game was 7 minutes old, moving the ball and hustling on defense like they did before their recent slide.

The biggest cheers went up when lumbering center Zaza Pachulia came up with an offensive rebound, then flipped a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Williams for a dunk.

The reaction was much different when Jeff Teague drove toward the basket, only to get sent tumbling to the floor when he ran into Hansbrough. The officials called an offensive foul on Ivan Johnson, ruling that he caused Hansbrough to stumble into Teague. Johnson was whistled for a technical when he disputed the call, while Teague got up slowly after a nasty fall, hurting but not seriously injured.

Atlanta had its biggest lead in the final minute of the first half before West buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer, leaving the Pacers with a 59-41 deficit. It was too much of a margin to overcome for a team that played the previous night, winning at home against Utah.

After his nifty play early on, Pachulia had some ugly moments toward the end.

First, he missed a dunk after Smith dived to the court to retrieve a loose ball and flipped a pass forward to his center, lumbering all alone in front of everyone else. Then, apparently losing track of where he was on a fast break, Pachulia took a pass and seemed ready to go in for another dunk attempt, only to realize he was too far from the hoop. He was called for walking instead.

Notes: NBA commissioner David Stern attended the game, stopping off in Atlanta after making the announcement that the 2013 All-Star Game will be held in Houston. Stern expressed confidence in the Hawks' ownership group, which tried to sell the team over the summer, saying they are "way down my list of current worries." ... McGrady nearly squared off with Indiana's Lou Amundson after slamming into the Pacers player going for a rebound. They jawed at each other but their teammates stepped in quickly to pull them away from each other. ... Atlanta coach Larry Drew barked at Josh Tiven even after the referee called a foul on Indiana. Another official, Eric Lewis, asked Drew, "Why are you getting on him like that when you got the call?"