Game 5 Scouting Report: Hawks vs. Pacers
The Indiana Pacers did what they had to do in getting a split in Atlanta to regain home-court advantage. Their Game 4 win, particularly the second half of it, was a display of grit and will, as the team many thought to be the best in the NBA through the first half of the season finally looked the part.
For the Hawks, nothing about the two games in Atlanta should discount their belief that they can get another win in Indianapolis. For stretches of Game 4, the Hawks were the aggressor, but the turning point seemed to be Paul Millsap picking up consecutive fouls in a seven second span in the third quarter, which forced him to the bench for six minutes. The Pacers knifed into what was a double digit lead and ended up winning the game.
As the focus turns to Game 5, the concern for Atlanta has to be the way Game 4 ended. Though not the most productive quarter in terms of points scored, the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game was arguably Indiana’s best all-around quarter from an offensive standpoint. The ball seemed to never stop moving, and shot after shot went uncontested. Defensively, the Hawks need to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of them, playing good on-ball defense, and avoiding unnecessary double teams. When Atlanta went to double or trap, rotations to the open Pacers were nonexistent.
Offensively, Atlanta got some good looks that didn’t go in, but there were also several bad shots that came as a result of the shot clock getting too low. Jeff Teague needs to do a better job getting the team into a consistently-moving offense earlier in the shot clock, because Indiana is not a team you can afford to let guard you easily for 19 seconds.
Coach Bud made a heads up decision to play Mike Scott instead of the struggling Pero Antic for stretches with the starters, and it seemed to work. Antic had trouble finding his man after leaving to help, and Scott also made a few shots on the offensive end. It hasn’t seen Antic’s series to date, but it was good to see Scott step up when his number was called.
I expect very few matchup and lineup adjustments from either team going into Monday’s Game 5. The Pacers rallied around their home crowd for an easy win last time the teams were there, so the Hawks will need to do a better job of keeping the crowd at bay by protecting the ball, getting back on defense and taking quality shots in Game 5.
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