(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks return home after a successful road trip tonight searching for their ninth straight win over an improved Indiana Pacers team at Philips Arena.
The Hawks have taken eight straight over the Pacers, including a pair of contests this season. In fact, Atlanta hasn't lost to Indiana since a 113-96 setback in Indianapolis back on Nov. 18, 2008. The Pacers have lost seven in a row and nine of 10 trips to Georgia.
Most recently the Hawks finished 3-1 on their trek, winning the final three games after dropping the opener in Oklahoma City. Atlanta finished things on Wednesday with an impressive 110-87 rout of the always tough Utah Jazz.
Joe Johnson made a season-high five three-pointers en route to 28 points in that one. Jamal Crawford added 26 points and six rebounds off the bench for the Hawks, while Al Horford donated 18 points and eight boards in the victory.
"It's a tribute to a lot of hard work we've been putting in and the focus and intensity we need on back-to-back [games] coming into a hostile environment like tonight, knowing that we really had no room for error and that we had to get off to a fast start," Johnson said.
Atlanta will try to push its home winning streak to 10 games Saturday and is 12-5 at Philips Arena this season.
The Pacers will begin a short two-game road trip in Atlanta and Philadelphia tonight, and are winless in the last eight games outside of Indy. They own a 5-10 ledger as the visitor this season.
Indiana has dropped two in a row and five of six overall, including Friday's 90-87 loss versus the San Antonio Spurs at Conseco Fieldhouse. Tyler Hansbrough posted career-highs with 23 points and 12 rebounds, whileDanny Granger added 15 points and Mike Dunleavy had 14 for the Pacers.
"I'm very disappointed for our guys," said Pacers head coach Jim O'Brien. "We played a solid defensive game. For them to come back and beat us, it's painful."
Roy Hibbert ended with 10 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in defeat.