INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Thaddeus Young just wanted to supply the Indiana Pacers with energy. He ended up giving them plenty of points, too.
Young scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half and the Pacers never trailed in a 116-93 rout of the hapless Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.
The 11th-year pro had 10 points by the end of the opening quarter and the Pacers led by 17 by halftime. They were ahead 83-66 entering the final quarter.
"I just wanted to be the engine for the guys," Young said. "It wasn't so much looking for the offensive (success), it just kind of happened."
The Pacers (34-25) won their fourth in a row and improved to 15-6 since Jan. 6, the league's best winning percentage (.714) in that span.
"There's a lot more season left and we've got to go out there and compete at a high level," said Pacers guard Victor Oladipo. "I thought we did a good job of that today for 48 minutes."
The Hawks (18-42), who have the NBA's worst record, are 5-25 on the road and have dropped three in a row overall.
"We just wanted to go out there and compete," Hawks guard Kent Bazemore said. "We didn't do that."
Young shot 7 of 13 and made a pair of 3-pointers in the first half. It's just the sixth time he's scored 20 points this season, the previous occasion a home win against Orlando on Jan. 27.
Backup forward Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 21 points and 13 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season. Six Pacers scored in double digits.
"I think everybody has missed each other," Sabonis said of the first game in nine days due to the All-Star break.
Hawks reserve guard Isaiah Taylor scored 17 points in just his second NBA game.
"A lot of credit to Indiana, the way they play is impressive," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I liked our team better in the second half, I thought we were more competitive, more together — but you can't wait until halftime to get to that mindset."
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