HAWKS 90 PACERS 69
ATLANTA — Al Horford had 26 points and 16 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks turned things around dramatically in their playoff series against Indiana, blowing out the Pacers 90-69 in Game 3 Saturday night.
Playing with much more urgency than they did in two double-digit losses at Indianapolis, the Hawks raced to a 54-30 halftime lead and narrowed the best-of-seven series to 2-1. Game 4 is Monday night in Atlanta, where the Hawks have won 12 straight over the Pacers dating to 2006.
The Hawks changed up their lineup – inserting 7-footer Johan Petro at center and bringing 3-point specialist Kyle Korver off the bench – after getting manhandled on the road. With more favorable matchups and a lot more energy, Atlanta suddenly made a series of it.
Indiana, which looked so dominant on its home court, was a totally different team after heading south.
David West led the Pacers with 18 points. Paul George, who averaged 25 points in the first two games, was held to 16 on 4-of-11 shooting.
The Pacers connected on a dismal 27 percent (22 of 81) from the field.
Josh Smith added 14 points for the Hawks, and Jeff Teague had 13.
Atlanta coach Larry Drew started the little-used Petro at center in hopes of cutting into the Pacers’ size advantage, a move that had a ripple effect on Horford and Smith, providing more favorable defensive matchups all along the front line. But, after getting manhandled in the first two games at Indianapolis, this wasn’t really about a great strategic move.
Petro played only 14 minutes. Korver, who started the first two games, still got the bulk of the playing time with 29 minutes. Instead, this was more about the Hawks coming out with a lot more passion, the very things Drew had been preaching since the start of the series.
After falling behind 8-1 in the opening minutes and calling a quick timeout, Atlanta dominated the rest of the opening half with a display that had the crowd on its feet time and time again, while the Pacers stood around in a state of shock.
As good as the Pacers were in the first two games, averaging 110 points and a 16-point margin of victory, they were that bad in Game 3. They made four of their first six shots – then missed 30 of their next 36 before halftime, many of them the forced, ugly efforts of a team that turned increasingly desperate as the Hawks seemed to get to every loose ball just a little quicker.
The Pacers’ last win in Atlanta was a regular-season triumph Dec. 22, 2006. The Hawks missed six of their first 10 free throws, extending the troubles they had in the first two games but they bounced back to make 14 of their last 18.
BULLS 142 NETS 134
CHICAGO — Nate Robinson scored 34 points, and the Chicago Bulls wiped out a 14-point deficit late in regulation and beat the Brooklyn Nets 142-134 in triple overtime Saturday to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.
The Bulls were trailing 109-95 with less than 4 minutes to go in the fourth quarter when Robinson put the Bulls on his back and carried them to the wild victory.
He scored all but five of his points after the third quarter, including the first 12 in a 14-0 run that wiped out the deficit. Then, with 2 seconds left in the first overtime, he banked in a go-ahead jumper over Deron Williams.
Joe Johnson answered with one of his own to send it into a second overtime, tied at 121. The Bulls had a chance to win in the closing seconds of the next extra session, but Joakim Noah was blocked, and the game went to a third overtime.
The Bulls finally pulled away after Williams (32 points) drove for a layup to pull Brooklyn to 133-130 – the only points for him after regulation – with 3 minutes left.
Luol Deng answered with a basket to make it a five-point game, and Nazr Mohammed came up with two baskets in the final 32 seconds to help preserve the win.
He scored on a jump hook, then grabbed the rebound and scored with 19 seconds left after Carlos Boozer made a free throw and missed the second, making it 140-134.
The Bulls will try to wrap up the best-of-seven series at Brooklyn on Monday night.
GRIZZLIES 104 CLIPPERS 83
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Marc Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Memphis beat Los Angeles to even the first-round playoff series at 2-all.
Zach Randolph finished with 24 points and nine rebounds as the Grizzlies won their second straight to ensure another stop in Memphis for Game 6. Mike Conley had 15 points and 13 assists, and Tayshaun Prince scored 15 in his best game of the series.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had 19 points apiece for the Clippers, and Griffin also grabbed 10 rebounds. Los Angeles’ reserves outscored its counterparts again, 43-16. But DeAndre Jordan was the only other starter to score for Los Angeles, and he had two points. Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler went a combined 0 for 10 from the floor in being shut out.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles.