Lowely Hawks edge Pacers for season sweep

ATLANTA (AP) -- Peja Stojakovic is glad Indiana has no more games
this season against the Atlanta Hawks.

"I know we've lost to them twice since I've been here, and I
know they lost to them twice before," Stojakovic said. "It's a
problem when they go small because everyone is the same size and it
confuses us offensively."

Al Harrington had 23 points and eight rebounds, and the Hawks
snapped a five-game losing streak with a 94-93 victory over the
Pacers on Wednesday night.

The Hawks kept Stojakovic -- who hit four 3-pointers in the final
4:04 -- from touching the ball on the Pacers' final possession to
complete a sweep of the season series from Indiana for the first
time since the 1984-85 season.

"For some reason, we have matchup problems," Stojakovic said
of the last possession. "It caused a little confusion on offense.
We shouldn't have put ourselves in that position."

Jermaine O'Neal missed a turnaround jumper with 5 seconds
remaining, and Fred Jones tipped a pass to Jamaal Tinsley that
could've given the Indiana point guard a chance to get off a shot
from the left wing.

Tinsley, however, was defended tightly and decided to pass to
Jones at the top of the key. Jones' straightaway missed, but the
ball left his hands after the buzzer sounded.

"We had some time but they smothered us," Indiana coach Rick
Carlisle said. "We'll look back and kick ourselves about what
could have been, but you've got to give Atlanta credit. They fight
hard, they play well, they earned the victories against us."

Harrington, who missed two free throws with 9.8 seconds left,
knocked down Danny Granger and banked in a shot that gave the Hawks
an 88-79 lead with 4:30 remaining.

Stojakovic hit four of his next five shots, with each of his
3-pointers coming from the right side. Hawks coach Mike Woodson put
Joe Johnson, Atlanta's best defender, on Stojakovic on Indiana's
last possession.

The Pacers have dropped four straight and five of their last six
on the road. Indiana has lost consecutive games overall, dropped to
seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race -- a half-game
behind Milwaukee.

Phoenix visits Indianapolis on Thursday night.

"We're trying to hang in," Carlisle said. "We probably could
have done a lot more things over the course of 48 minutes to put
ourselves in a stronger position, but we didn't. We don't have much
time to hang our heads about this. We've got another one

Atlanta had lost nine of 10, and 11 of 13.

"The biggest thing was that we made them take shots over the
top of us," Harrington said. "They only got about 10 layups the
whole game, and that was the difference between winning and

The lead changed hands nine times in the third quarter, but Zaza
Pachulia gave Atlanta its biggest lead at 86-75 with 6:01
remaining. Pachulia finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.

Johnson, who scored 40 in the Hawks' victory at Indianapolis
last month, had just 12 points on 4-for-18 shooting.

"We were able to finish it off," Atlanta guard Josh Childress
said. "It was a little closer than it should have been."

O'Neal was just 4-of-12 from the field and finished with 13
points. Stephen Jackson was 4-for-13 and had 11 points.

"We could've won this game," Jackson said. "We didn't do a
lot of stuff well. They wanted the game more than we did. They're a
very young, hard-playing team. I love the way they play."

Game notes
One of the biggest cheers from the sparse crowd was for
Pittsburgh Steelers receiver and Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward, who
lives in nearby Forest Park and starred at Georgia from 1994-97.
... Former North Carolina State guard Anthony Grundy, signed to a
10-day contract earlier this week by Atlanta, scored six points in
his NBA debut.


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