INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana coach Frank Vogel wants to see his team come out of the All-Star break the way it opened the season when the Pacers won 16 of their first 17 games. Spencer Hawes Jersey . Theyre off to a good start. Paul George scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Pacers to a 108-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night. "We understood the dog days (of the season) would be a grind," Vogel said. "Now thats behind us." David West had 17 points and Lance Stephenson added 13 to help the Pacers beat the Hawks for the second time in three meetings this season. Not only does Indiana want to start the second half of the season like it did back in October, the Pacers want to be even better. That could be scary for the rest of the NBA. "We want to peak towards the end of the season and were on our way," centre Roy Hibbert said. "The last 20 games, we want to play our best ball." Kyle Korver scored 19 points, shooting 5 for 7 on 3-pointers, and Lou Williams added 18 points for the Hawks, who have lost six straight. The Pacers, who return from the break with three games in five days, went on a 12-2 run in the third quarter on a basket by West, two 3-pointers by George and a dunk and layup by George Hill to stretch the lead to 73-54. The Pacers put the game away when Ian Mahinmi converted a three-point play and Danny Granger hit a 3 to make it 101-82. After the Pacers jumped to a 19-point lead in the third quarter, the Hawks scored seven straight. Korver hit a 3, Jeff Teague made two free throws, and Williams had a layup to make it 75-63. West gave Indiana an 80-67 lead with two free throws before Atlanta scored six straight on shots by Mike Scott, Williams, and Paul Millsap. For Atlanta, starting a stretch of four games in five nights, the teams injury woes didnt get any better. Forward DeMarre Carroll was listed as a game-time decision, but didnt play for the second straight game because of a left hamstring strain. And centre Gustavo Ayon left in the first half with a right shoulder injury and didnt play in the second half. The Pacers almost shut the door on the Hawks right from the start, using a 16-0 run to build a 22-5 lead early in the first quarter. Stephenson hit a 3, West scored twice, and Hibbert made two free throws. Later, George, who scored 14 first-quarter points, hit a jumper, a 3-pointer, and later dunked with 7:00 remaining in the opening period. "We werent getting good looks at the basket," Korver said. "They were making everything it seemed like and we dug ourselves a really big hole." Indiana led by 22 in the first quarter when Stephenson scored with 4:37 left to give the Pacers a 31-9 lead. The Hawks then went on a 12-2 run. Elton Brand scored and Korver hit a 3-pointer. West made two free throws to extend the lead for Indiana before Williams hit a 3 and two free throws, and Millsap scored to make it 33-19. "We have to be able to get off to good starts," George said. "We have got to understand that teams are going to rally back, but I thought they made the game closer than it needed to be when we had a good lead." The Hawks got within three when Korver hit a 3 to make it 52-49 with 1:02 left in the first half, but never could get over the hump. George made two free throws and Hill hit a 3 with 7.2 seconds left in the first half to give the Pacers a 57-49 halftime lead. NOTES: Hawks C Pero Antie was out with a right ankle stress fracture. ... F Al Horford was out after having right pectoral muscle surgery. . G John Jenkins was out while recovering from lower back surgery. . Indianas 35 points in the first quarter was the most Atlanta has given up in the opening quarter this season. . Indiana scored a season-high 35 points off of Atlantas 22 turnovers. Aaron McKie Jersey .C. Lions signed cornerback Dante Marsh to a contract extension on Friay and released receiver Paris Jackson. Philadelphia 76ers Pro Shop . - Josh Sterk scored twice to lead the Oshawa Generals to a 7-1 rout of the Ottawa 67s in Mondays Ontario Hockey League action.Almost immediately after the Toronto Blue Jays finished May with an outstanding 21-9 record, skipper John Gibbons basically said that was all well and good, but the Jays couldnt let up and had to avoid the "June Swoon". That prompted me to go back through the years that Rogers has owned the club to see how many times the Jays have actually stumbled in June and seriously damaged their seasons. This is Rogers 15th season of club ownership. They have had three general managers, Gord Ash (inherited), J.P Ricciardi and Alex Anthopoulos. Theyve also had six managers, Buck Martinez (inherited), Carlos Tosca, John Gibbons (twice), Cito Gaston and John Farrell. Over the 14 complete seasons, they have had five winning Junes and nine losing ones. Of those nine losing months of June, I can only classify a couple of them as season-wreckers. In 2008, after a great May, the Jays stumbled in June to a 10-16 mark. John Gibbons remembers it well because he was fired on 20th of that month and replaced by Cito Gaston. Cito went on to have one of those Junes of his own two years later in 2010. The Jays went 9-17 that month, though they recovered to finish at 85-77, albeit still winding up in fourth place in the tough American League East. Cito retired from his second stint as Blue Jays manager at the end of that season. In 2002, the Jays got off to a horrible 8-20 start under second-year skipper and now Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez. The team seemed to be coming around a bit and actually swept the Detroit Tigers in a three-game series that carried over in the start of June. But on June 3, Ricciardi fired Buck and promoted one of his own hires in bench coach Carlos Tosca to be manager. The Jays finished with a 15-12 record for that month. The Jays most common June record is 12-15. Four times they have hit those figures and once they just missed it, going 12-14 in 2009. The Jays best Junes in the Rogers era have been 15-11 in 2003, 16-11 in 2006 and 17-9 last season under Gibbons fuelled by that 11-game win streak. Even with that stellar month, the Jays still finished at 74-88, just one game better than the year before under John Farrell. In his four full season managing the Jays so far, Gibbons actually has a winning June record at 59-48, but I guess that une 2008 firing would make a man just a little wary. The season that sticks out in comparison to this year is 2010. The Jays, under Cito, were 31-22 at the end of May. Thats nine games over .500, exactly the same as this years edition were at 33-24. The 2010 team, as we mentioned, finished at 85-77, but didnt come close to making the post-season. So Gibbonss point is well taken. Even though, the Jays have equalled their best record through the end of May since Rogers took over they still have a long way tto go - a four-month grind in fact - to try and earn their first playoff spot since 1993. Custom Philadelphia 76ers Jerseys. . - When the Tampa Bay Rays opted to keep lefty David Price in the off-season, it looked as though they were committed to winning this season. Many pundits, yours truly included, thought they actually had the talent to win the AL East. Now, thanks to injuries to pitchers Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb and a distinct lack of hitting, they have tumbled into the basement in the East at 23-34 after getting swept at Fenway over the weekend. Ben Zobrist, perhaps their most valuable player, is back off of the DL, as is Cobb, but now Wil Myers is on the disabled list with a sprained right wrist. It will be interesting to see between now and the deadline if the Rays put the blame for this season on the injuries or if they go into full rebuild mode and make Price the centrepiece of their wheeling and dealing. - The Boston Red Sox, on the other hand, have staged a dramatic recovery. After dropping 10 in a row and losing starters Felix Doubront and Clay Buchholz to the disabled list, as well as third baseman Will Middlebrooks, theyve turned around and won seven straight and have closed to within six games of the Blue Jays and two-and-a-half of the second Wild Card slot. - The Baltimore Orioles are breathing a huge sigh of relief. Nelson Cruz got nailed on the left hand by a Scott Feldman pitch on Sunday versus the Houston Astros and had to leave the game after just one at-bat. Fortunately, the x-rays were negative. Cruz is turning out to be the biggest bargain basement pick-up of the off-season. The 33-year-old slugger, in the wake of his PED suspension, left the Texas Rangers as a free agent and signed late with Baltimore on a one-year deal worth $8 million. Cruz leads the Bigs with 20 homers and 52 runs batted in, just ahead of the Jays Edwin Encarnacion who has 19 roundtrippers and 50 runs batted in. Cruz is putting up career numbers in a contract year. He has never hit more than 33 home runs in a season and has never driven in more than 90 in a campaign. Barring an injury, he should easily surpass both totals and help keep the Os in the East race all season long. - If the season ended today and, of course, it doesnt, the Blue Jays would play the Detroit Tigers in the American League Divisional Series and would have home field advantage in the series. That would be a dream match-up in these parts and adds a little bit of drama for their upcoming three-game set starting Tuesday night at Comerica Park. The Jays will be sending Drew Hutchison, R.A. Dickey and J.A. Happ up against Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander. ' ' '
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Dec 09, 2019
Now thats behind us
Now thats behind us