Postgame Thoughts: Pacers Hold Serve, Push Hawks To Brink
A few thoughts after tonight’s 106-83 loss to the Pacers:
– Obviously the Hawks wanted to take this game since Game 7’s on the road are almost impossible to win, but the Pacers did their job in protecting home court. This is the only first-round series in which a home team hasn’t lost, so let’s hope that trend continues on Friday.
– For the second time in the series, the Hawks lost their composure in the second half. Larry Drew talked about how he wanted to see his team complain less about calls, but instead it looked like they were complaining more. Josh Smith got a technical after picking up his third foul of the quarter midway through the third, then Jeff Teague had an inexcusable technical minutes later when he elbowed Paul George on his way to the bench, and Ivan Johnson followed with one later in the half after a shove to Tyler Hansbrough. If this series does get to Game 7, and I think it will, the Hawks are going to have to stay calm on the road if things don’t go their way in stretches.
– The shooting difference (51% for the Pacers, 33% for the Hawks) jumps out on the stat sheet, but to me that was a direct result of shot selection. Indiana made it a point to pound the ball inside, particularly from the second quarter on, while Atlanta was forced into difficult and contested jump shots. As I’ve said after all of the Hawks’ losses in this series, making Indiana shoot from the perimeter is the key to beating them. Atlanta didn’t do a good job of that tonight as David West and Roy Hibbert combined for 42 points.
– Foul trouble doomed the Hawks yet again tonight. Smith picked up two in the first half, limiting his play, then had to sit for most of the third quarter after getting three more. I still like the matchup of Smith on George, but George did well when the smaller Devin Harris and Kyle Korver were on him. Johnson also battled first half foul trouble, which limited Drew’s big man rotation. If those two can stay composed and in the game on Friday, the Pacers won’t get to the 100 points they got tonight.
– One good thing Atlanta did defensively was force turnovers. They forced Indiana into 17 while committing only six themselves. I mentioned the 33% shooting earlier, but that’s only because they took shots on almost every possession having taken care of the ball so well. Hopefully they’ll protect it like that again Friday.
– The Hawks shot more free throws (37) than the Pacers did (35), which is a great sign. They were being aggressive, particularly off the dribble, and they were also significantly better, shooting 81%. That’s something to build off of going into Friday’s game, though Indiana’s 35 attempts needs to be lowered.
Game 5 is over, so let’s forget about it and get ready for Game 6 Hawks fans. Click here to get tickets.
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