INDIANAPOLIS — Caris LeVert scored 31 points, including nine in the final 2:17, and the Indiana Pacers awoke from a recent funk with a 133-126 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
LeVert also had 12 assists for his first double-double since being acquired by the Pacers in January. All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis scored 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting with nine assists.
The Hawks missed potential tying 3-pointers on two late possessions before Indiana pulled away.
The Pacers had dropped four of five, including one of the season’s ugliest losses Wednesday in which they managed just 93 points at home against Sacramento’s NBA-worst defense.
Trae Young led the Hawks with 30 points and 10 assists. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 28 and John Collins 25.
The Hawks, the Southeast Division leaders who had won three in a row, looked like the struggling team as the Pacers led 36-26 after the first quarter and 72-58 at halftime. Guard T.J. McConnell provided a spark with 13 points off the bench. The Pacers had 22 assists to Atlanta’s 12.
The margin reached 18 points in the third quarter before the Hawks finally surged to cut the deficit to six. Young scored 17 points and had five assists in the third. But the Pacers pulled away again and converted Young’s turnover into a buzzer-beating layup for a 110-96 lead entering the fourth.
Back came the Hawks as Collins hit a 3 and threw down two dunks as part of a 12-2 run to trim the Pacers’ lead to 112-108 early in the fourth. Collins converted a three-point play after a timeout, and the Hawks were only down one.
Hawks: Head coach Nate McMillan, whose four-year run with the Pacers ended in a one-and-done playoff exit last postseason, is 23-11 since being named Atlanta’s head coach. … Have lost seven consecutive games at Indianapolis, the last win coming in 2016.
Pacers: Assistant coach Greg Foster was suspended for the game and center Goga Bitadze fined after a shouting match on the bench during the third quarter of Wednesday’s home loss to the Kings. Bitadze swore at Foster as he ran past the bench.
Hawks: Host the Washington Wizards on Monday night.
Pacers: Host the Wizards on Saturday night.
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