(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) - The Indiana Pacers staved off playoff elimination with a 112-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Pacers jumped on the Hawks early, leading by eleven at the end of the first period. They would increase their advantage to 15 at the half and opened the third quarter with a 17-4 run to lead by a game-high 28 points.
Mike Dunleavy led Indiana with 28 points with Flip Murray adding 20 points and ten assists as the Pacers have won three in a row.
Joe Johnson had 30 points to lead Atlanta with Josh Smith adding 25 points and 13 rebounds as the Hawks suffered just their second loss in eight games.
An Atlanta win would have clinched no worse than a tie for eighth place in the east with the Hawks clinching the season series and the tiebreaker with Indiana. Instead, the Pacers win pulls the blue-and-gold to within two games of the eighth-place Hawks with four games remaining for both teams in the battle for the final playoff berth in the east.
The Pacers also clinch the season series two games to one and the tiebreaker with the Hawks, which means if Indiana and Atlanta finish in an eighth-place tie, the Pacers will make the playoffs.
The Pacers are at Philadelphia on Friday, home to Charlotte on Saturday, at Washington on Monday before closing out the regular season at home Wednesday against the New York Knicks.
The Hawks are at New York on Friday, home to Boston and Orlando on Saturday and Tuesday before closing out their regular season schedule at Miami on Wednesday night.
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