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Hawks use inside power to get past Pacers 110-98

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Atlanta coach Mike Woodson wanted to see more consistency from his team Saturday night.

He’ll settle for another road victory.

The Hawks relied on their rugged inside tandem of Al Horford and Josh Smith to overwhelm sluggish Indiana, 110-98. Horford finished with 25 points and a season-high 19 rebounds. Smith had 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals, and Joe Johnson added 24 points.

Atlanta (21-8) won for the second time on a roller-coaster, four-game road trip. The Hawks blew out Minnesota and won easily at Indiana, but lost in overtime at Chicago and were routed at Denver.

The Pacers (9-19) had three players finish with 19 points — Troy Murphy, Tyler Hansbrough and Luther Head — but it wasn’t nearly enough to end Indiana’s losing streak, which was extended to five.

Atlanta took control quickly, opening the game on a 9-0 run and taking an 18-4 lead before Indiana made its second basket.

Indiana’s bench turned things around just as fast.

The Pacers opened the second quarter with four straight baskets to close to 33-29 with 9:49 left in the half, and they were still within 37-33 two minutes later.

But when the starters returned, the Hawks and Pacers reverted to their previous form. Horford, who had a double-double in the first half, started a 10-0 run that gave Atlanta a 47-33 lead with 3:24 left. They still led 51-40 at the half.

The disparity prompted Indiana coach Jim O’Brien to bench two of his starters, Roy Hibbert and Mike Dunleavy, for almost the entire third quarter — though not much changed.

Smith and Horford continued to dominate the inside, and the Hawks got just enough scoring from the outside to pull away. Atlanta opened the second half on 13-6 run, making it 63-46 midway through the quarter, and closed the quarter on a 7-3 spurt to extend the margin to 84-66.

Indiana got only as close as 11 the rest of the way.

Notes: Atlanta’s three top scorers — Horford, Smith and Johnson — all scored in double figures in the first half. Indiana had only starter finish in double figures for the entire game. … Joe Smith missed his eighth consecutive game with a dislocated left thumb. … Indianapolis native Jeff Teague played 13 minutes, 38 seconds and finished with two points in his only scheduled trip to Indy this season. … Hawks coach Mike Woodson said he probably could not attend his induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in March. The induction ceremony is March 24, Woodson’s birthday, but the Hawks host Orlando on that day, too.

© 2009 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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