Blaylock Sick, but Hawks Fine Against Pacers

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Anthony Johnson made the most of his first start with Atlanta.

Johnson, starting in place of ailing Mookie Blaylock, scored a season-high 17 points as the Hawks rallied to stun the Indiana Pacers, 83-82, Monday night at Indianapolis.

“I just had to step it up and play well. I didn’t want to let my teammates down,” Johnson said.


Blaylock, who had started every game for Atlanta this season, had flu and reportedly spent the game sleeping in the dressing room .

Reserve Grant Long scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, including two free throws with 3.4 seconds left, as the Hawks beat the Pacers for the third time this season.

Long was fouled by Rik Smits as he drove to the basket in the closing seconds and made both free throws to give Atlanta an 83-81 lead.

“I knew Rik Smits would be running at me,” Long said. “I thought maybe a play or two ahead, if he comes again I’m going to show him the ball and maybe pump fake him.”

Reggie Miller was then fouled as the Pacers attempted to inbound the ball, giving Indiana one free throw and possession of the ball under a new rule regarding fouls on inbound plays in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.

Miller made the free throw to make it 83-82. The Pacers then inbounded the ball, but couldn’t get a shot off before the final buzzer.

Dikembo Mutombo had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Hawks, who overcame a 10-point deficit in the final eight minutes and held Indiana to a season-low 14 points in the last quarter.

Smits led the Pacers with 22 points.

Seattle 109, Dallas 101--Gary Payton and Detlef Schrempf each scored 20 points as the SuperSonics won at Dallas.

Dallas made a late rally after trailing by 21 points early in the fourth quarter and got as close as 102-94 with 34.9 seconds left on Dirk Nowitzki’s three-point play. But the Mavericks couldn’t get any closer.

The Mavericks trailed, 77-57, entering the fourth period after missing 16 of 20 shots in the third.

Gary Trent’s 20 points and nine rebounds paced the Mavericks, who lost their fourth in a row.