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We invite you to join the fun the fray tonight as IM editors Megan Fernandez, Michael Rubino, Jonathan Scott, and Evan West live-blog the Indiana Pacers' Game Six performance against the Atlanta Hawks. The purgatorial Pacers have put their fans through much since March, and tonight we see if they have the bite to climb back and level the series.
And away we go ...
9:54 p.m. Michael: Whew. Great response to the pressure. Let’s see how the Pacers do on Saturday when they face their biggest nemesis—success.
9:52 p.m. Megan: Can I look now?
9:52 p.m. Jon: Note steady vet David West's eight points in this game's final three minutes. He had 24 overall.
9:51 p.m. Jon: Pacers take it, 95-88, to send this back to the Fieldhouse in Indy. That game will be at 5:30 p.m., airing on TNT. "It's not over 'til you win four," says Quinn Obvious Buckner.
9:48 p.m. Jon: Quinn Buckner makes fun of Luis Scola sort of forgetting to take his warmup pants off before coming in. Ho, ho, ho.
9:47 p.m. Jon: Pacers up 91-85 with 17 seconds left. It's in the bag. But. To win at home Saturday ...
9:45 p.m. Michael: [happy clapping]
9:44 p.m. Jon: Pacers up 89-85 and it's free-throw mode rest of the way.
9:42 p.m. Michael: Take your time. Play defense. Get out of here.
9:41 p.m. Jon: Pacers up 87-85 with 41 seconds left.
9:33 p.m. Michael: Crazy to see who is on the floor for the Pacers during crunch time. But still …
9:32 p.m. Evan: Yes and no.
9:32 p.m. Megan: No.
9:30 p.m. Michael: I was born fatalistic.
9:28 p.m. Jon: Do we feel good, y'all?
9:20 p.m. Megan: I like Cope, but maybe he doesn't have enough experience for this moment. Coca-Scola Time?
9:16 p.m. Evan: Whose beard are IM editors going to riff on after this Hawks series? Oh yeah, Andrew Luck's.
9:16 p.m. Jon: Louis Williams sinks a three. Timeout Pacers, down 72-68 with 9:26 left to play.
9:13 p.m. Jon: Pacers down 69-66, 10:37 left in the game.
9:12 p.m. Megan: I haven't felt this nervous since Election Night 2008. I am stress-eating mini vanilla wafers.
9:11 p.m. Roy Hibbert just had a man a foot shorter guarding him ... and Paul George passed the ball to that defender.
9:10 p.m. Jon: Remember when Reggie Miller scored eight points in 18 seconds? (Of course you do.) Well, Cope just shot thrice in three seconds. None of them fell.
9:06 p.m. Jon: End of third quarter, Pacers down 67-64.
9:05 p.m. Megan: Oh my god, is our All-Star center going to have to come into the game?
9:04 p.m. Michael: FLOP! [As Mahinmi is called for an offensive foul, his fourth.]
9:03 p.m. Evan: Atlanta fans are behaving like a playoff crowd. Sounds like Market Square Arena.
9:01 p.m. Jon: Hawks quickly tie it up at 61 after Pacers had a nine-point lead. Paul George is on Frank Vogel's bench. Return to your previous fatalism, Pacers fans!
8:57 p.m. Evan: [As Atlanta's Mike Scott electrifies the home crowd with a big play, pulling the Hawks within 59-54.] This finally feels like a playoff series.
8:53 p.m. Jon: Lance Stephenson, Sir Lance-a-lot, sure has quietly had a productive 19-point game ...
8:51 p.m. Michael: Larry Bird is finally smiling. Possibly at the last timeout's Kiss Cam, but still.
8:50 p.m. Jon: Fifteen points for Paul George. PG-15. Those defenders just sort of grew roots while he steered around and laid it up. Pacers, 57-48.
8:45 p.m. Michael: Looks like someone stole Millsap's All-Star ring.
8:44 p.m. Jon: Again, BREAKING: (Because who doesn't overuse that word with news anymore?) Six-foot-11 Ian Mahinmi just missed a dunk. And Korver (gasp) failed to land a three-pointer. Pacers with their largest lead of the night, 55-48, with 5:55 remaining in third quarter.
8:43 p.m. Jon: These Fox Sports Indiana announcers are captivated by foul trouble.
8:43 p.m. Evan: If Pacers can just survive this series maybe Hibbert will be more than a cheerleader again.
8:41 p.m. Jon: BREAKING: Roy Hibbert just smiled and jostled with a teammate on the bench. "'Cause I'm happy ..."
8:39 p.m. Michael: Pacers bench standing. Solidarity!
8:37 p.m. Jon: Shel Silverstein gets called for a technical foul! I've just always wanted to say that. Where the Hardwood Ends, anyone?
8:36 p.m. Megan: This game is going a lot better than anyone expected, right? But why didn't Ian Mahinmi move for that rebound?
8:34 p.m. Megan: Evan, George Hill liked that "317" T-shirt so much, he asked to keep it. Also, waht do you think his country karaoke song is? "Friends in Low Places"?
8:32 p.m. Michael: Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke putting off a real Shooter-from-Hoosiers vibe with that halftime interview.
8:31 p.m. Jon: Quinn Buckner says, "You can expect more 'small ball' in the second half." Michael Rubino hopes so! For real, though, that small lineup was rather smashing.
8:27 p.m. Evan: George Hill, hometown hero.
8:19 p.m. Megan: I'm not playing a "technical fouls" drinking game if Lance Stephenson is involved. That's nuts. And yes, George Hill Redemption!
8:18 p.m. Michael: Hill yeah!
8:17 p.m. Jon: "George Hill ... comes back with a first-half dagger!" Calm down, FSI. Even so, that was a great punctuation mark on the first half, George Hill. Blown free throws forgotten. Pacers up 44-39 at intermission.
8:16 p.m. Megan: Are we sure that foul wasn't on Kyle Korver, even though he was on the bench? Please?
8:15 p.m. Jon: George Hill hasn't scored yet tonight. Two missed free throws! Pacers still up 41-36 with 10 seconds left in first half. Hill has shot 81 percent on freebies for the year.
8:14 p.m. Michael: Nice to see the Pacers show some fight!
8:13 p.m. Jon: Megan, the drinking game that should be played is every time these Fox Sports Indiana announcers say the phrase "double technical." They are infatuated.
8:13 p.m. Evan: I'm starting to understand why Scott doesn't start for Atlanta.
8:12 p.m. Jon: I for one am loving George Hill jawing at Mike Scott on the Hawks. He needs to get into this series. Double technical foul called.
8:11 p.m. Michael: How’s everyone feeling about this? Love the small lineup.
8:10 p.m. Jon: I sure would be if I didn't go dry until after the Indy Mini.
8:09 p.m. Megan: Is anyone else playing the Chris Denari "double-digits drinking game"?
8:08 p.m. Jon: For once, I guess I'm okay with seeing a fellow Scott kind of suck at something ... Mike is no Dennis Scott, Stuart Scott ... George C. Scott ...
8:04 p.m. Megan: David West nearly had Paul Millsap's head in a scissor lock on that failed steal.
8:03 p.m. Jon: Game tied at 35 with 2:54 left in the first half.
8 p.m. Megan: Dang. Jeff Teague buries a three. I forgot about him after Game Five.
7:56 p.m. Michael: Antic’s beard looks like one of those Wooly Willy ones. The magnetic things.
7:54 p.m. Jon: That's not very Scott of him.
7:53 p.m. Michael: Mike Scott left his jumper in Indy.
7:52 p.m. Megan: From hitting threes to sitting down with three fouls [Kolver]. This is more like it.
7:52 p.m. Jon: Mike, to answer your question, Kyle Korver just picked up his third foul. So, I guess, who on the IM staff makes the most errors? We'll leave that one alone.
7:51 p.m. Megan: I see your Kinetico commercials and raise you a Mr. Quik.
7:50 p.m. Michael: Heh. Those commercials are awful, but not as bad as the Kinetico ones.
7:45 p.m. Jon: It would be great if someone on the Pacers would match DeMarre Carroll's energy level. He's everywhere.
7:43 p.m. Michael: Who is the Kyle Korver of the IM staff? The Roy Hibbert?
7:42 p.m. Jon: "You've got a lot of size down there on the bench ..." says one announcer. Let's just leave that one alone.
7:40 p.m. Jon: Good to see Indy's hometown boy, actor Mike Epps, in the house. Uh ... put him in?
7:39 p.m. Evan: The Chris Copeland movement is afoot in Pacer Nation.
7:37 p.m. Jon: And Cope drops a trey as the first quarter closes. Pacers down 22-20, but Hawks had a 10-point lead. Cope in 2016.
7:34 p.m. Michael: No, Evan.
7:30 p.m. Evan: Has anyone considered that instead of the Pacers playing really badly, maybe the Hawks are just playing really well? Throwing it out there.
7:29 p.m. Jon: Hawks up 17-9 with 3:26 left in the first stanza.
7:27 p.m. Michael: And I'm back. ... Keep Cope Alive! [Chris Copeland enters the game.]
7:26 p.m. Jon: Oh my heck, how many three-pointers can they shoot? How may offensive boards can they snag? Hawks up 12-3 as rebounds go. Score:13-5. (R)oy!
7:25 p.m. Jon: I'm really tired of Atlanta three-pointers. Hawks with a 10-0 run.
7:24 p.m. Michael: I swear, my cable just went out. Damn you, [redacted]!
7:17 p.m. Michael: That’s how you foul in the playoffs! [David West's hard foul on Pero Antic.]
7:14 p.m. Jon: Shel Silverstein just threw the ball away. Good sign!
7:11 p.m. Michael: So, what did I miss? Are we down by 30 yet?
7:09 p.m. Megan: I hope we all don't start making Shrimp Cocktail Face like we did in Game Five.
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