Notebook: Pacers 107, Hawks 90



Posted Apr 21, 2013 4:56 PM

Conrad Brunner, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: When a guy goes 3-for-13 from the field and dominates a game, you know the outcome was about more than shot-making, and that clearly as the case in Indiana's 107-90 Game 1 victory over Atlanta Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Though the aforementioned Paul George had his first career playoff triple-double with 23 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, he spearheaded a remarkably aggressive and energetic performance by the Pacers. Constantly on the attack, he tied a franchise playoff record with 17 free throws made. Indiana outscored the Hawks 30-7 from the line, outrebounded the Hawks 48-32 and had a 19-7 advantage in second-chance points. George Hill scored 18 and Roy Hibbert 16 for the Pacers. Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 21.

QUOTABLE: "He was all over the place tonight. That's who Paul George is. He's one of the most complete players in the game. He impacts the game in so many different ways -- defense, rebounds, steals, blocks, 3-point shooting, getting to the free throw line, making the extra pass."
-- Indiana coach Frank Vogel.

THE STAT: George's triple-double was the second of his career and the Pacers' first in the playoffs since Mark Jackson against the Knicks in 1998.

TURNING POINT: Indiana kept Atlanta at arm's length most of the afternoon but the Hawks appeared poised to threaten twice in the fourth quarter. The first time came when a 10-2 run that cut the lead to 89-81, but a pair of offensive rebounds led to a 3-pointer for Hill as the Pacers responded with a six-point burst. The Hawks closed to 95-86 on a Teague 3-pointer with 4:56 left, but George dove for a long offensive rebound -- his 10th, completing the triple-double -- starting a sequence that led to a three-point play by David West, and there would be no further threat from the visitors.

QUOTABLE II: "I don't want to be labeled as a scorer or a defender. I want to be a ballplayer."
-- George.

GOOD MOVE: Finishing the regular season in a miserable shooting slump, going 6-for-28 (.214) from the arc in his final five games, George stopped settling for early jump shots and instead was relentless in attacking the hoop. As a result, he had career highs of 17 free throws made and 18 attempts. The former tied Reggie Miller's franchise record set on Nov. 30, 1993 against New York. The latter fell one shy of Miller's mark in the same game.

BAD MOVE: Hawks coach Larry Drew opted to go with his small lineup with Kyle Korver at small forward (matched up against George), and Josh Smith and Al Horford in the frontcourt against the much bigger Indiana tandem of West and Roy Hibbert. That did not work out well at all for the Hawks, who were overpowered inside.

HOT: Horford shot 7-for-12 but played just 28 minutes, scoring 14 points with six rebounds. ... Teague hit half of his 14 attempts, including both 3-pointers, and added seven assists. ... Hill made his first six shots and finished 7-for-10 for Indiana. ... In his first postseason start, Lance Stephenson had 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

NOT: George missed all five of his 3-point attempts and was 3-for-13 from the field. ... Korver was 2-for-7. ... Hibbert was 7-for-17.

QUOTABLE III: "They outworked us. They just clearly outworked us. If you're going to be good in any series you have to have a blue-collar mentality and we didn't display that tonight. ... I'm not going to allow (the players) to use that (free-throw disparity) as a crutch. We got beat because they outworked us."
-- Drew.

NOTABLE: The opening game is particularly critical to the Pacers, who are 13-4 when they win Game 1, compared to 1-16 when losing. ... All five Pacers starters scored in double figures for the 13th time. ... The Pacers had gone winless in seven regular-season games when opponents shot at least 50 percent from the field, but pulled out Game 1 despite the Hawks hitting that mark (38-for-76). ... West left briefly in the second quarter after appearing to roll his left ankle but returned less than three minutes later. ... Atlanta's two regular-season victories over Indiana came with Zaza Pachulia starting at center, but the 7-footer (Achilles) is out, as is Lou Williams (knee). ... Indiana is without Danny Granger (knee).

UP NEXT: Game 2 Wednesday at Indiana, Game 3 (7:30 p.m.), Game 3 Saturday at Atlanta (7 p.m.), Game 4 Monday at Atlanta (TBD).