After another poor effort on the road, the Atlanta Hawks are no doubt happy to be back home.
The Hawks will try to extend their winning streak at Philips Arena to eight games Sunday afternoon when they attempt to slow down Danny Granger and end the Indiana Pacers' five-game run.
Atlanta (46-26) suffered a third straight road loss, 105-98 to Philadelphia on Friday. The Hawks gave up 31 points in the third quarter and were outscored 13-6 in the final 4 minutes, managing two 3-pointers from Joe Johnson in that span.
"We just didn't show up to play," Johnson said. "We acted like we could turn it on in the fourth quarter."
The Hawks have clinched a third straight playoff spot and have a magic number of five to lock up home-court advantage in the first round.
"I am trying to tell the team and push these guys to understand that you have to beat teams you're supposed to beat," coach Mike Woodson said. "There are no gimme games. I don't care where you play, when you play on the road, it is tough to win. We just showed up like we were just going to win and it didn't happen."
A matchup with the Pacers (27-46) isn't the "gimme game" it may have been in the past because of the way Granger is playing. He has topped 30 points in four straight games, scoring a career-high 44 in a 122-106 win over Utah on Friday.
Granger scored 18 of Indiana's 35 points in the fourth quarter.
"I was trying to get 50, but I just ran out of gas at the end," he said. "I missed some free throws, too. Overall, I'm glad we won."
Indiana has matched its longest win streak of the season and will be trying to win six straight for the first time since March 28-April 8, 2005. The Pacers scored 68 points in the second half against the Jazz after trailing by seven at the break.
"We just were persistent," Granger said. "We kept grinding back at them and kept grinding back at them. We just stayed true to our game plan, and it worked tonight."
Four of the Pacers' wins in this streak have come at home. Indiana, which ended a nine-game road skid with Tuesday's 98-83 win over Detroit, has lost its last five visits to Atlanta.
The Hawks are trying to win eight straight at home for the first time since March 7-23, 2009, and have won five in a row overall against the Pacers. Granger missed two of those games and is averaging 27.0 points in the other three.
Indiana has been unable to contain Johnson, who is averaging 26.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting in the last five meetings. The Hawks have won by an average of 11.4 points.
This game precedes matchups against conference leaders Cleveland and the Los Angeles Lakers for Atlanta, which is looking to forget its poor effort against the 76ers.
"As players, we have to take it upon ourselves to come out with more intensity than we did," Johnson said.