Hawks Soar Over Pacers


Isaiah Rider and coach Lenny Wilkens had nothing to argue about anymore. Winning changes that.

Rider, returning from a one-game suspension for skipping practice, scored 15 points Friday night as the Atlanta Hawks beat the Indiana Pacers 105-99.

"He proved tonight how he can help the ballclub," said Wilkins, who has been at odds with his new star so far this season. "I told him `Just play. All I want you to do is to be on time, just play basketball.'"

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  • Rider, who didn't start, hit 7-of-22 field goals and 1-of-4 free throws in 31 minutes, and said all was right in his world.

    "As long as we play hard and win, I'm here," he said. "That's the key to me winning."

    Jim Jackson scored 19 points and Dikembe Mutombo, Alan Henderson, and Bimbo Coles each added 16 as Atlanta won its first road game in six tries.

    The loss was Indiana's first in four games in its new home, Conseco Fieldhouse.

    Rik Smits and Reggie Miller led Indiana with 21 points each. Smits scored 15 in the first quarter, but Mutombo held him in check the rest of the way, adding 16 rebounds and five blocked shots.

    "He was getting his shots going," Mutombo said of Smits' first-half effort. "We started rotating. The plan was don't let the rest of their guys get going."

    Mutombo got some defensive help, as the Hawks switched their defense to push Smits away from the baseline. The ploy worked, as the Hawks held Smits scoreles in the second half.

    "The first half was something for me to build on and to have a good game. I didn't," Smits said. "I had the open looks, but couldn't get it to fall down."

    Indiana trailed 99-86 in the fourth quarter before mounting a rally that fell short. Al Harrington hit a free throw and a fast-break basket to start a 13-4 run.

    After Jason Terry hit two free throws for Atlanta, Harrington hit a 3-pointer and Mark Jackson scored a fast-break layup to cut the lead to 103-99 with 1:24 to play.

    Jackson countered with a layup to quell the comeback.

    Indiana's only lead came on Miller's 3-pointer midway through the second quarter. He hit another 3 with 3:12 left for a 50-50 tie.

    Notes

  • The Hawks last road win came on May 2, when they beat Cleveland 76-65.
  • Both teams hit all their free throws in the second quarter, with the Hawks holding a 7-6 edge.
  • Atlanta has won two straight after snapping a four-game losing streak.
  • Indiana has lost two straight after winning five of its first seven games.

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