ATLANTA (AP) — Buddy Hield and Obi Toppin each scored 18 points and the Indiana Pacers overcame star Tyrese Haliburton’s absence with balanced scoring, beating Atlanta 126-108 on Friday night to continue their season dominance over the Hawks.
After Indiana scored at least 150 points while winning each of its first two games of the season against Atlanta, including a 150-116 rout on Jan. 5 at Indianapolis, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle was braced for a strong response from the Hawks.
“I expect a haymaker from them because we beat them a couple of times,” Carlisle said before the game.
Instead, the Pacers were dominant even without Haliburton en route to their third straight victory. Indiana, fourth in the Eastern Conference, has won nine of its last 10.
Haliburton, the NBA assists leader, missed his second straight game because of a strained left hamstring.
Bennedict Mathurin added 15 points for Indiana, which had eight players in double figures. The Pacers shot a season-high 67.1% from the field, making 53 of 79 shots and had a 44-28 rebounding advantage. T.J. McConnell had a season-high 14 assists.
The Pacers made 63.8% of their shots in the Jan. 5 runaway win, which was then the highest percentage allowed by the Hawks this season. Indiana topped that mark Friday.
Dejounte Murray, the subject of NBA trade deadline speculation, led the Hawks with 29 points. Saddiq Bey had 17 and Jalen Johnson added 16.
Atlanta’s Trae Young, second in the All-Star voting behind Haliburton among Eastern Conference guards, had 13 points and six assists. He was 4 of 17 shots from the field.
After leading 68-62 at halftime, the Pacers outscored the Hawks 31-19 in the third period.