Mookie Blaylock got another chance to win the game. This time, he didn't miss.
One week after failing to hit a last-second shot that would have beaten Miami, Blaylock connected on a running 10-footer in the lane with 1.9 seconds left to give the Atlanta Hawks a 103-102 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Steve Smith led the Hawks with 25 points and Reggie Miller scored 26 for the Pacers, but others took center stage in the final seconds as Atlanta defeated the top team in the Central Division for the second time in eight days.
"On that last play, it was designed for everyone to get a touch on it," Blaylock said. "I was up top and they got it to me, and I got a great look at it. I'm just lucky it went in."
The Hawks defeated Indiana 85-79 at Market Square Arena on March 16, followed the next day by an 86-85 loss to the Heat when Blaylock missed a long jumper at the buzzer.
The point guard had a much better look at the basket for the final shot against the Pacers.
"We wanted him in the middle of the floor," coach Lenny Wilkens said. "We had three options off that situation there. And we didn't want to just settle for the outside shot unless it was totally wide open and the defense had dropped off."
Indiana trailed 101-99 when Miller drove the lane and dished back to Sam Perkins, who hit a shot from outside the 3-point arc to put the Pacers ahead.
"Reggie made a good play," Perkins said. "The guys sunk in a litte bit and I had room and time to shoot it."
Indiana worked hard to keep the ball out of Smith's hands, but Blaylock got loose at the top of the key, released the shot as he sailed past the foul line and skipped away in delight when the ball fell through the net.
"I never had a doubt we could play against everybody," said Blaylock, who scored 14 points. "We wanted it. It was a good win for us."
| Grant Long and the Hawks find a way to get around Indiana. (AP)|
The Pacers still had a chance to win. Miller couldn't get loose for the inbounds pass and Jalen Rose was forced to go to Rik Smits, who missed badly with a turnaround jumper that barely skimmed the backboard as time expired.
Miller was 10 of 13 from the field, hitting all four of his 3-point attempts, but he didn't attempt a shot in the final quarter.
"All we needed was one stop," he said. "Nine seconds left, we've got to come up with a big stop. And we couldn't."
The frenetic final seconds were typical of a thrilling game between two teams displaying no signs of lockout rustiness.
Indiana built an 11-point lead late in the first quarter and settled for a 33-24 advantage, the most points allowed by the Hawks in an opening period this season.
The Hawks bounced back by scoring 32 points in the second period, their season high for points in that quarter. The highlight was a 13-0 run that included back-to-back dunks by Mutombo, both set up by Smith's brilliant passes.
The latter half of the third period swung the momentum back to the Pacers, who rebounded from a 70-59 deficit to trail only 80-79 by the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Indiana led by as many as six points on two occasions, but the teams were separated by no more than two points after Blaylock hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 94 with 4:42 remaining.
The Hawks pushed their home record back above the .500 mark (7-6) but still have a better mark (9-5) on the road. ... Indiana was playing only its 12th road game, the fewest in the league other than Cleveland. ... The Pacers began a stretch f 10 games in 15 days -- eight of them on the road.
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