ATLANTA — The Hawks mastery of the Pacers in Atlanta continues.
And at just the right time.
The Hawks defeated the Pacers for the 13th straight time at Philips Arena, including Games 3 and 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. The latest was a 102-91 win Monday night that evened the best-of-seven series at 2-2 despite a one-time 19-point lead.
The series continues with Game 5 Wednesday in Indiana. There will be a Game 6 back in Atlanta on Friday.
The Hawks did themselves no favors by shooting just 25 of 38 from the free-throw line. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Hawks had missed as many free throws (12) as the Pacers had taken.
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Korver finished with 19 points and Al Horford added 18 points.
Paul George had 21 points for the Pacers, 18 in the second half.
Nets force Game 6
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — With their backs against the wall, the Brooklyn Nets couldn’t afford another fourth-quarter collapse.
For the second straight game they led after three quarters, and this time made sure they finished the job.
Deron Williams and Brook Lopez bounced back from poor late finishes in Game 4 to post double-doubles, and the Nets staved off elimination by pounding the Chicago Bulls, 110-91, at Barclays Center in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
With Brooklyn blowing a 14-point lead late, Williams and Lopez combined for just seven points through three overtimes of a heart-breaking 142-134 loss in Chicago on Saturday, but the pair carried the Nets on Monday to keep their season alive.
“I would have been surprised if our guys didn’t respond the way they did tonight,” said Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo. “It just would have been out of character for the way they’ve played all year.”
Williams totaled 23 points and 10 assists, Lopez racked up 28 points with 10 rebounds and Andray Blatche contributed 10 of his 13 points in a fourth quarter where the Nets outscored the Bulls by a 33-18 count.
The Nets still have the odds stacked against them, with only eight teams ever rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win a series, which will shift back to Chicago on Thursday for Game 6.
Nate Robinson, whose heroics single-handedly got Chicago to overtime in Game 4, made his first career playoff start with Kirk Hinrich resting a sore left calf and finished with a team-high 20 points and eight assists.
Rockets stay alive
HOUSTON — James Harden had an off night, but Chandler Parsons picked up the slack.
Parsons tallied 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the Houston Rockets’ 105-103 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of this Western Conference first-round series.
Parsons has seen his point total increase with each passing game. After scoring just nine points in Game 1, Parsons responded by going for 17 and 21 points, respectively, in Games 2 and 3.
Harden was held to 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting for the Rockets, who still trail the best-seven-set 3-1.
Kevin Durant netted 38 points for Oklahoma City, which will host and attempt to close out the series on Wednesday.