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Hawks fire first shot in playoff series

Hawks fire first shot in playoff series

Hawks fire first shot in playoff series

Atlanta Hawks' Jeff Teague shoots aga...




    INDIANAPOLIS — Jeff Teague scored a playoff career-high 28 points and Paul Millsap added 25 as eighth-seeded Atlanta rolled past top-seeded Indiana 101-93 on Saturday night, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
    The Hawks ended an eight-game road losing streak in the playoffs, which dated to May 2011. Game 2 is Tuesday in Indianapolis.
    Indiana, which spent the whole season working to get home-court advantage in the playoffs, wasted no time in giving it right back with a dismal third quarter. Paul George finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
    Atlanta opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run, breaking a 50-50 tie, then pulled away when Teague scored nine points in a 14-0 run that made it 74-58 with 4:08 left in the quarter. Indiana couldn't get closer than eight the rest of the way.
    It was a fitting twist to open the best-of-seven series.
    Indiana played fast and energetic in the first half, playing more like the team that was so good over the first half of the season. Then in the second half, the Pacers reverted to their recent script of being unable to make shots and get defensive stops when they needed them most. The Pacers were just 5-of-19 from the field in the third quarter and were 15-of-41 in the second half.
    Atlanta took advantage of those struggles, becoming the first team to beat the Pacers on their home court twice this season and stealing the win they needed. It was the first time the Hawks won a postseason road game since the first game of the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals at Chicago.
    Nobody was better than Teague, who repeatedly blew through open lanes because the Pacers' defense was spread out by the Hawks' 3-point shooters.
    Teague was 9-of-19 from the field with five assists and three rebounds. Millsap had eight rebounds.
    With 30 3-point attempts, the Hawks broke their franchise playoff record for 3-point attempts with 30, and the 11 3s they made tied the second-highest playoff total in franchise history. Both records were set in a 26-point loss to Orlando on May 10, 1996, when Atlanta went 12-of-27 from beyond the arc.
    They didn't have any trouble pulling out a win with those totals Saturday.
    An Indiana turnover in the closing seconds of the first half allowed Atlanta to tie it at 50 on a buzzer-beating putback, and it was all Atlanta after that.
    The Hawks quickly jumped to a 58-50 lead early in the third, and when the Pacers rallied to get within 60-58, Teague and Millsap took over.
    Millsap opened the decisive run with two free throws. Teague followed that with a driving layup, his only 3 of the game, another layup and two free throws. And when Millsap closed the run with a three-point play, the Pacers trailed 74-58.
    They didn't get within single digits again until Lance Stephenson's 3 with 33.6 seconds left made it 99-91. But Atlanta closed it out at the free-throw line.

    Nets 94, Raptors 87
    TORONTO (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets made a case for the important of playoff experience in their opening victory over the Toronto Raptors.
    Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each had 24 points, Paul Pierce scored nine of his 15 points in the final quarter and the Nets beat the Raptors 94-87 Saturday in Game 1 of their first round series.
    Playing in his 137th career postseason game, Pierce connected on four of his five shot attempts in the fourth as the Nets kept the Raptors at bay.
    "You just get that feeling, you've been in those situations a number of times," Pierce said. "I don't get rattled in the fourth quarter, down the stretch or in playoff settings. I've been in pretty much every playoff setting that you can imagine. I just try to stay calm and bring my calmness to the game."
    Nets coach Jason Kidd said Williams "set the tone" by scoring 18 points in the first half.
    "He came out with high energy," Kidd said. "I thought he was looking to be aggressive in scoring the ball. He got the guys off to a good start."
    Shaun Livingston scored 10 points and Kevin Garnett had five as the Nets won despite making 4 of 24 3-pointers.
    "We didn't shoot well from 3 tonight but we made up for that by taking care of the ball, good defense down the stretch, making plays offensively," Williams said. "That's why we got the win."
    The Nets turned the ball over nine times, while the Raptors had 19, leading to 17 Brooklyn points.

    Warriors 109, Clippers 105
    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Golden State Warriors stumbled out of the gate, missing their first eight shots while falling behind by 11 points and forcing coach Mark Jackson to call two timeouts to steady his young team.
    Stephen Curry glanced at the clock and realized there was still plenty of time left to knock off the Los Angeles Clippers.
    Klay Thompson scored 22 points, spiking the ball as time expired, and Golden State beat Los Angeles 109-105 after getting Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in foul trouble in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday.
    "A big way to start the series," Curry said. "We've been resilient all year. We're not going to quit."
    David Lee had 20 points despite his own foul trouble and Curry scored 14 for the Warriors, who rallied in the third when Griffin and Paul were on the bench together.
    "I'm proud of my guys," Jackson said. "We just had a tremendous will and competitive spirit."
    Game 2 is Monday night at Staples Center.

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