Hawks Take Game 1 In Indiana
The Hawks (1-0) were able to win Game 1 of their first round matchup with the Pacers (0-1) 101-93 thanks to a dominating third quarter and a game-high 28 points and five assists from Jeff Teague. Atlanta also got 25 points and eight rebounds from Paul Millsap.
|Hawks vs. Pacers|
The game went back and forth in the first half, with the Hawks taking the lead early and the Pacers fighting back to tie it at 50 apiece at the half. In the third quarter, the Hawks exploded for 30 points while holding Indiana to 16 as they ran away with the lead. Teague and Millsap combined for 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the third, as they dominated inside and out. Atlanta’s defense paved the way for their offensive success in the third, holding the Pacers to 26.3 percent shooting and forcing seven Indiana turnovers.
Teague did a great job of pushing the pace for the Hawks, and created great looks for himself by being aggressive attacking the basket in pick-and-roll and isolation. The Hawks slowed down in the second quarter with the bench unit in the game, which allowed the Pacers to take a brief lead, but Atlanta did well to get their offense moving again with ball movement and player movement to create space against the great Indiana defense.
Along with Millsap and Teague, the Hawks got great contributions from DeMarre Carroll, Kyle Korver, and Shelvin Mack. Carroll and Korver had 12 points each — a playoff high for Carroll — (also a playoff-high 10 rebounds). Korver and Carroll also provided a nice defensive presence, something we’ve come to expect from both to different extents.
Carroll locked down on Paul George on the defensive end, holding him to 33 percent shooting from the field. George had 24 points to lead the Pacers but had to fight for those points as he struggled to find space against Carroll and the hard-trapping Hawks.
Korver was tasked with defending Lance Stephenson for much of the night, and he did well keeping Lance out of the paint and forcing him into jumpers. Stephenson was big for the Pacers in the second quarter, with nine of his 19 points in that period when the Hawks’ bench was in. Korver also had a pair of blocked shots — both on Roy Hibbert — as he was effective helping down at the rim.
The Hawks’ defense was excellent from top to bottom, as they forced the Pacers into a number of difficult shots from low-efficiency spots on the floor, while being able to control the glass. Indiana shot just 42 percent from the field (42.9% from three) and Atlanta led the rebounding battle 46-42 (12-9 offensive). Keeping the Pacers, who are considered the more physical team, off the glass was a point of emphasis for the Hawks defense, and they executed that game-plan magnificently tonight.
Atlanta’s execution on both ends of the floor was as good as we’ve seen all season. Defensively, they were aggressive in trapping on pick-and-rolls and were furiously chasing out on their rotations and on offense they pushed the pace and got themselves good looks.
On offense, Atlanta had just 13 assists on the game — a season low — but did well to create looks on the ball, and got a lot of good three-point looks that just didn’t fall — Hawks shot 11-of-30 from three; Korver was 2-of-7. As a team, they were assertive — following the lead of Teague and Millsap — and took open looks when they were afforded them, whether they came in the post, off the dribble, or off a pass.
The Hawks have stolen home-court advantage and continue to play extremely well with their lineup healthy again. With the win, the Hawks are now 7-2 in their last 9 games and have won two straight games in Indiana. Both teams will have two days off to look at the tape and continue to make adjustments before Game 2 back in Indiana on Tuesday night (7 p.m. on SportSouth/TNT).
Tweet of the Night
— Sterling Graham (@donmega1833) April 20, 2014
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images