The Pacers' battle for playoff spot this season came down to the last game of the regular season but they managed to pull it off. It was a big Wednesday night game for Indiana as they hosted the Atlanta Hawks at their Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It was a crowded arena as the Pacers needed a win to clinch their playoff spot. The Hawks on the other hand already clinched theirs earlier this week and they will start the playoffs as the number fifth seed in the East.

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Atlanta's starting center Dwight Howard missed this game due to tightness in his back. The Hawks also decided to rest Bazemore, Millsap, Hardaway JR. and their starting point guard Denis Schröder on Wednesday night.

Wire to wire victory for the Pacers

Considering that they came into this match up with their playoff spot in question, the Pacers played the game with a sense of urgency from the beginning. They played great defense in the opening quarter as they finished that period with a 22-15 lead.

Soaring George Seeking a Higher Level | Indiana Pacers - nba.com
Soaring George Seeking a Higher Level | Indiana Pacers - nba.com

Although they shot just 38.1% in the first quarter, it was their impressive defense that gave them the lead. At halftime the score was 50-43 for the home team. It was in the third quarter that the Pacers pulled away in this one. They increased their lead up to 16 points (65-49) midway through the third, and finished that period with a 16 point lead (84-68). Final score was 104-86 for the Pacers team that played impressive defense on Wednesday night, holding the Hawks to just 41.7% shooting from the field.

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It was a Wire To Wire victory for the home team as the Hawks never led after the first quarter. Indiana outrebounded Atlanta 41-37 and forced them to commit 20 turnovers.

Paul George getting ready for the playoffs

Paul George led all scorers in this game with 32 points. He connected on five of his 10 three-point attempts and also added 11 rebounds. This was his third double-double in last five games. George scored at least 20 points in his last 12 games as he is getting ready for Indiana's first round playoff match up.

They will face the defending NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of Eastern Conference playoffs. After the game George addressed the media: "I'm looking forward to going back to the playoffs. We know that it's going to be tough but we got to challenge them (Cavaliers)."

Jeff Teague also contributed in Wednesday's win with 19 points and seven assists.

Ersan Ilyasova led the way for the Hawks with 15 points and three rebounds. Jose Calderon added 12 points and five assists.

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Atlanta will face the Washington Wizards in their first round playoff series.

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