ATLANTA (AP) — John Collins led eight Atlanta scorers in double figures with 21 points and the Hawks’ overcame Jordan Nwora’s season-high 33 points to beat the Indiana Pacers 143-130 on Saturday.
The Hawks overcame the loss of Trae Young, who was ejected in the third quarter, to score their most points this season.
The Hawks protected their shaky hold on the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. They began the day a half-game ahead of No. 9 Toronto and one game ahead of No. 10 Chicago in the tight competition for position in the play-in tournament.
Young was ejected after firing an unusually hard pass to referee Scott Wall during a timeout. Wall caught the ball. Young was immediately called for a technical foul and ejected.
Only seconds earlier, Young had an apparent 3-pointer disallowed when he was called for a technical foul for sticking out his leg and tripping Aaron Nesmith. The technical foul was Young’s 15th of the season. A 16th technical foul results in an automatic one-game suspension.
Young had 14 points and five assists.
The game was tied at 84 when Young was ejected. The Hawks outscored the Pacers 21-14 the remainder of the period for a 105-98 lead.
Nwora, a second-year player, was acquired by Indiana from Milwaukee as part of a four-team trade on Feb. 9. He scored 21 points for the Bucks against Cleveland on Nov. 16 for his previous season high and topped that with 25 points in just the second quarter against Atlanta.
Nwora, a 6-foot-9 forward from Louisville, started in four of his first 16 games with Indiana but came off the bench against Atlanta. He nailed a 3-pointer to open the third quarter and kept shooting, making 9 of 11 shots and four of four free throws in the period.
Nwora’s scoring outburst led the Pacers to 39 points in the quarter for a 74-72 halftime lead.
Tyrese Haliburton scored 19 points and Buddy Hield had 16 for Indiana.
Dejounte Murray had 20 points in his return after missing two games with a non-COVID illness. Saddiq Bey led Atlanta’s bench with 18 points.
Pacers: F Isaiah Jackson was the fill-in starter as C Myles Turner (lower back soreness) was held out. G Chris Duarte (left ankle) played after missing five consecutive games. … Haliburton (right ankle) and F Bennedict Mathurin (right ankle) started after being listed as questionable. Haliburton returned for Friday night’s 120-95 loss at Boston but still there had been doubts about his status for the second day of back-to-back games. … Nwora’s career high is 34 points for the Bucks at Chicago on May 16, 2021.
Hawks: Clint Capela had 17 points and 17 rebounds. … G De’Andre Hunter (left knee contusion) did not play. … F Jalen Johnson (groin, hamstring) missed his fifth straight game.
Pacers: After ending a four-game trip, Indiana hosts the Mavericks on Monday.
Hawks: Host Grizzlies on Sunday.