INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Accustomed to using its offense to win games, the Atlanta Hawks have recently relied upon its defense. That was the case when the Hawks beat the Indiana Pacers 108-92 on Monday night. It was the fifth time in the last seven games that the Hawks have held an opponent under 100 points.
''I think our defense is superb right now,'' said DeMarre Carroll.
The Hawks (14-6) have now won eight of their last nine games, including seven straight, their longest streak since the 2009-10 season.
The Hawks dominated early and built a 28-18 lead in the first quarter.
Carroll led the Hawks early, scoring nine points - all from 3-point range. He finished with 12 points.
''Carroll has been struggling, so it was good that he got going'' Jeff Teague said. ''Once that happened it created a lot of open looks for everybody.
Al Horford led the Hawks with a season-high 25 points and had eight rebounds and was one of four players to score in double figures. Teague had 21 points and Kyle Korver added 13.
''Our guys' activity and energy on both ends of the court was good,'' Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. ''We just need to keep getting better and build off that.''
The Hawks came out firing from long range. Atlanta was 6 of 13 on 3-pointers during the first half, but struggled in the second half and finished 9 of 21.
''We've had some good first quarters and obviously if we can make a couple threes that will open up the court and maybe allow us to get to the basket,'' Budenholzer said. ''
The early outside success opened things up inside as the Hawks scored 22 points in the paint in the first half and finished with 48.
The Hawks pushed their lead to 21 points three times. The first time was when Teague scored on a layup, was fouled and hit the freethrow to put Atlanta up 68-47 with 8:25 to play in the third quarter.
Indiana went on a couple of runs. Late in the first half the Pacers went on a 10-2 run to close the gap to 49-39, but the Hawks answered and took a 60-43 lead into the half.
C.J. Miles led a fourth-quarter run, scoring all 15 of his points in the final period. Rodney Stuckey also scored 15 points for Indiana. But it wasn't enough. But it wasn't enough for the Pacers.
''Our energy level throughout the whole 48 minutes is not what it should be,'' Scola said. ''Teams are coming at us early and then we try to react and it's just too hard.''
BITTEN BY THE BUG AGAIN
The Pacers lost another key player when Ian Mahinmi tore his left plantar fascia during Friday's loss to Sacramento. Last season the Pacers had 17 players on the roster throughout the season and they missed a combined 69 games. This season through 14 games, seven players have missed a combined 71.
Atlanta: The Hawks averaged 103.3 points and 27.7 assists and held their opponents to 88.7 points during the six-game winning streak that were on entering Monday night's game. Horford (11), Carroll (10) and Teague (10) each scored in double figures during the first half.
Indiana: The Pacers current five-game losing streak is their second of the season. The first was October 31-November 8 when they dropped six straight. Indiana averaged 72.5 percent from the free-throw line entering the game and its 53 percent was near its season low of 50 percent.
Atlanta: Host the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday
Indiana: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday