Reserve forward scores 20 points and grabs 7 rebounds in 19 minutes

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After every game, win or lose, one of Luis Scola's four sons slips in a few precious moments with dad. It's a rare opportunity for a youngster: A peek inside an NBA locker room while the towering players march to and from the showers and a horde of media members conduct their interviews.

On Tuesday night, it was four-year-old Matias' turn. With his blue No. 4 jersey and scraggly brown hair – just like his dad – Matias tugged on his father's legs an hour after the final buzzer sounded.

It was late. He was ready for bed.

But dad was busy, tied up with plenty of questions from those reporters, the result of a 9-for-14, 20-point shooting burst that helped propel the Pacers to an easy 101-85 victory over the Atlanta Hawks that evened their best-of-seven series at one game apiece.

While Scola wasn't the reason the Pacers avoided an 0-2 hole as the series shifts to Atlanta, he was among the biggest. So Matias would have to wait, impatient as sleepy four-year-olds can be, while dad talked about bouncing back from an 0-for-6 clunker in Game 1.

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"Someone asked me if tonight was why they brought me here," said Scola, acquired last summer in a trade with Phoenix. "My answer to that: I know what they didn't bring me here for. And that's the way I played in Game 1."

Make no mistake: His finest game in an Indiana uniform couldn't have come at a more opportune time. While Indiana's efficiency sputtered early on, Scola, the seventh-year pro and first-year Pacer, sparked a stagnant unit whose offensive slog had carried over considerably from a dismal Game 1 performance.

And then – right on cue – Larry Bird's signature offseason addition heated up early in the second quarter.

Scola from 21 feet. Swish.

Scola from 21 feet. Swish.

Scola from 21 feet. Swish.

"Big shot after big shot after big shot," was how Pacers coach Frank Vogel described it. "Luis Scola was playing out of his mind."

Matias' dad kept the Pacers afloat while Atlanta continued its sizzling 3-point shooting. More significant than his shot-making, though, Scola demanded a tight cover, which spread the floor and allowed Indiana's sleeping weapons – Paul George and George Hill for starters – to commence the rout after halftime.

Game 2 Pacers vs. Hawks Press Conference Clark Wade / IndyStar.com

"He came in and forced those guys to guard him," teammates David West said. "He didn't give them the night off. He's a shot-maker, and when he gets going, he's a load."

He was a heavy load for Atlanta Tuesday night. By one point in the second quarter, his surge accounted for 11 of Indiana's 13 points, no small contribution considering how off-kilter the Pacers were on the offensive end of the court. Led by Scola, the much-maligned bench accounted for 22 straight in that span.

With Scola chipping in seven more points after halftime, the Pacers outscored the Hawks by 20 after intermission.

He's right: Tuesday's performance was the reason Scola was brought to Indianapolis.

His 20 points were his second-highest total in a Pacers uniform, trailing only the 24 he scored on April 9 in Orlando when Vogel elected to rest his starting five. For Scola, a veteran's veteran, finding the range was more a matter of staying the course than altering his routine, style or shot.

Bob Kravitz and Candace Buckner break down Game 2 Clark Wade / IndyStar.com

He remained on the Bankers Life Fieldhouse floor after Monday's practice, lofting one jumper after another from his trademark spot – the elbows of the free throw line. Repetition would serve him well.

Come Tuesday night, his fine-tuning paid off, one elbow jumper after another.

"There was a lot of thinking after Game 1," he said in the locker room, a restless Matias ready for the ride home. "Those were the shots I usually make. I just kept saying, 'They're going to fall sooner or later. Those are my shots.'

"I needed a good game tonight. The team needed a good game tonight."

Call Star reporter Zak Keefer at (317) 444-6134 and follow him on Twitter: @zkeefer.

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