Pacers force Game 7 with 95-88 win over Hawks

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm •  Published: May 1, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) — The Indiana Pacers have changed who they are, going to a different style in hopes of surviving the opening round of the playoffs.

No matter what, they can always count on David West.

With the top-seeded Pacers poised for an early summer, West fearlessly led a 16-4 run to end the game, extending the season with a 95-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.

"He's our rock," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "There's no other way to put it."

Trailing 3-2 after losing at home for the second time in the best-of-seven series, Indiana was in big trouble when the Hawks pushed out to an 84-79 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining, cheered on by a raucous crowd that barely sat down in the second half.

But, for the fourth time in this back-and-forth affair, the road team won.

West seemed to make every big play down the stretch, scoring four straight points and forcing a huge turnover to begin the turnaround. He hit two more baskets in the final minute to wrap things up, finishing with 24 points.

Game 7 is Saturday in Indianapolis.

"When a team is making runs like that, an eight seed trying to knock off a one seed in their building and the place is erupting on every play, we have a guy with the composure to settle everyone down," Vogel said.

Paul George also scored 24 points for the Pacers, making four straight free throws to help fend off a team that was trying to become only the sixth No. 8 seed to win a playoff series.

The Pacers went with a smaller-than-usual lineup much of the game, hoping to match up better with Atlanta spreading the court and shooting a bunch of 3-pointers. Roy Hibbert remained the starting center, but played only about 12 minutes for the second game in a row. Ian Mahinmi played nearly twice as long, giving Indiana more mobility in the lane, while C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland also got extensive minutes.

It worked. Atlanta bogged down offensively and made only 9-of-35 from beyond the arc.

"We tried some different lineups," West said. "Coach rolled the dice."

West came up big all over the court, also leading the Pacers with 11 rebounds and six assists, not to mention a couple of steals.

"I told the guys, 'If worse comes to worse, we've got to play park basketball,'" he said.

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