Hawks Will Play Pacers In First Round
The Atlanta Hawks know who their first round opponent will be.
The Miami Heat lost to the Washington Wizards Monday night, giving the Indiana Pacers the top spot in the Eastern Conference and a first round date with Atlanta.
It will be the second straight season the teams meet in the first round of the playoffs. Last season Indiana won the series 4-2 after the teams split their regular season meetings.
The teams split their four games this season as well, but the difference this year is that Indiana and Atlanta each got a regular season road win in the other’s building.
Indiana has struggled since the All-Star break, limping to the finish after a dominant first 50 games that had them atop the standings not only in the East, but in the entire NBA. The recent slide has been due to a severe drop in offensive production across the board. Paul George is averaging almost 22 points per game, but nobody else on Indiana’s roster is better than 14. The Pacers also haven’t gotten a lot out of Roy Hibbert recently, including a scoreless game in the teams’ most recent meeting.
Indiana got a boost with a big win over the Thunder on Sunday that helped boost them to the #1 seed. C.J. Watson, one new piece of the Pacers’ revamped bench, scored a season-high 20 points and David West finished with a team-high 21. That could be the game Indiana needed to get back on track as they head into the postseason.
These teams are very familiar with one another, having played 16 times (preseason, regular season, postseason) over the past two years. Hawks.com writer Robby Kalland will have a comprehensive breakdown of how they match up with one another later this week.
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