Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 12th 2024

Two of the top offensive teams in the NBA will meet again Friday when the red-hot Indiana Pacers begin a six-game road trip against the Atlanta Hawks.

Indiana ranks No. 1 in the league with 126.6 points per game and has scored 130-plus points in 15 games. The Pacers have scored at least 150 points in three games, two of them against the Hawks. Atlanta ranks No. 3 in the league with 122.7 points.

This will be the third meeting between the teams, with Indiana winning both – 157-152 at Atlanta on Nov. 21 and a 150-116 romp at Indianapolis last Friday.

Both teams are coming off victories on Wednesday. The Pacers beat the Washington Wizards 112-104, have won eight of their last nine games and have moved into a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks, who are 11th in the East, broke a two-game losing streak by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 139-132 in overtime.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle was especially proud of his team’s defensive effort against Washington. The 104 points allowed matched a season low and perhaps signaled how the team must play without leading scorer Tyrese Haliburton (23.6 points, 12.5 assists), who is out for two weeks with a left hamstring strain.

“We need to do everything we can to sustain it,” Carlisle said. “These games are going to look different without Tyrese. Our guys played very hard in this game. They made a strong effort defensively and it was one of our best games as far sustained level.”

Even without Haliburton, the Pacers still have seven other players who average double figures. Myles Turner (17.6 points) had 18 points and 13 rebounds in Wednesday’s win and showed the team is still capable of winning without Haliburton.

“When one of your guys goes down, the rest of the team has to step up and I think we did a phenomenal job of doing that,” Turner said.

Atlanta also got a career night from Jalen Johnson, who scored 25 points and had career highs with 16 rebounds and seven assists against the Sixers. It was a nice bounce-back from Sunday at Orlando when he scored 12 points and went 0-for-4 on 3-pointers in an overtime defeat.

“The important thing was he didn’t have his best game the other night and he owned that and let it go,” Atlanta coach Quin Snyder said. “He knows how much confidence I have in him and tonight you could feel the confidence in him. That’s part of becoming a really good player.”

Snyder also praised guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray for their court leadership. Young scored 28 points, but 21 of those came in the second half. Murray scored 25 points.

“Trae controlled the game, got people involved,” Snyder said. “That shows his mindset and it’s been that way. Tonight, it was really visible. It was about trusting each other.”

The Hawks were without center Clint Capela (Achilles) on Wednesday. In his absence, Onyeka Okongwu moved into the starting lineup and produced 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Capela’s status will be reassessed before the game.

The Pacers may be without Jalen Smith (lower back) and Jarace Walker (illness).

When the teams met last Friday at Indianapolis, the Pacers finished with a team-record 50 assists, 18 of them were from Haliburton.

–Field Level Media

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