ATLANTA — Jeff Teague flung in a wild 3-pointer after the officials missed him stepping out of bounds, and Kyle Korver finished off Indiana from beyond the arc to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 98-85 victory Thursday night and another lead in the series with the top-seeded Pacers.
Hardly playing like a No. 8 seed that finished six games under .500 during the regular season, the Hawks took control in the third quarter — the decisive period in all three games — and held off the Pacers to go up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 is Saturday in Atlanta.
The Hawks were up 84-78 with the shot clock running down when Teague launched a running shot from the wing — after his foot clipped the line. It counted, even after a video review.
Referee Tony Brothers said the officials took another look at the play merely to determine if Teague was behind the 3-point line when he shot. There wasn’t any doubt about that, and the only other thing they could look at was the position of Teague’s feet when the ball left his hand. He was clearly in bounds when he shot.
Korver clinched the victory with the last of his four treys, putting Atlanta up 92-80 with 1:41 remaining. That was only appropriate, since the Hawks made 10 3s in the second half after going just 2-of-16 from long range in the first two quarters.
Teague scored 22 points and Korver added 20 to lead the Hawks, who are playing with confidence and swagger against an Indiana team that struggled down the stretch and is still scrambling to regain the form it showed much of the season.
Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 21 points, and Luis Scola added 17 in another stellar performance off the bench that at least gave Indiana hope. But Paul George was held to 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting, George Hill made only 1-of-11 from the field, and Roy Hibbert continually missed shots close to the hoop.
Teague made the biggest shot of all. Looking up to see the clock running down, he dribbled to his left and threw it up with Scola in his face. Nothing but net.
Teague smiled and shrugged his shoulders on the way back down the court, as surprised as anyone that it went in.
The Hawks stunned the Pacers in Game 1 and led by as many as 11 in the first half of Game 2, before the Pacers finally looked like the top seed in the East with a dominant third quarter that evened the series.
This time, the Hawks gained the upper hand in the third — just as they did in the series opener. Korver knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner off a fast break, prompting the Pacers to call a timeout. They needed another after Teague soared for a thunderous dunk off an Indiana turnover, pushing Atlanta to a 10-point lead, matching its biggest of the game to that point.
The Hawks went to the final quarter riding a wave of momentum when Lou Williams stepped back and swished a 3 with just 1.2 seconds left in the third, pushing Atlanta ahead 67-58.
The first half was downright ugly. Both teams were sloppy with the ball and had trouble knocking down anything, which made it difficult to establish any sort of flow to the game. The Hawks shot just 30 percent (12 of 40) from the field and were especially dismal from outside, yet they were still up 39-38 at the break.
The Pacers were nearly as bad, hitting only 15 of 40 shots and reverting to the offensively challenged form that made them one of the shakiest-looking No. 1 seeds in recent memory.
They still are after Game 3.