Tuesday, October 16 at 7:00 PM at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview (Preseason): IND vs. ATL

by Scott Agness

Matchup

The Pacers split their first two preseason games last week, both against Minnesota. Following three days of practice, they’ll play four games in the next seven games, beginning tonight with Atlanta at home.

Ian Mahinmi started last game in front of the home crowd and showed what he can do as Roy Hibbert’s backup. Mahinmi, who’s just 25 years-old, impressed with his length and athleticism inside the paint. He scored 17 points and had 8 rebounds in just over 24 minutes. He is still familiarizing himself with the system and getting comfortable with the second unit.

Gerald Green’s another key reserved who shined, finishing with 18 points and one magnificent alley-oop on a sideline in-bounds play in the final minute of the game. His plus/minus statistic was well above the rest of his teammates at +17. In comparison, Mahinmi was second best, at +6. We all know Green has remarkable hops, but Indiana signed him to a three-deal in the offseason with hopes of him providing a spark and scoring-threat off the bench.

And finally, the other Hansbrough—Ben Hansbrough, took advantage of his time on the court as he scored 10 points and dished out 7 assists. For the Pacers, the preseason is about the second-unit finding a comfort level, and for a handful of guys to prove their case for the final few roster spots.

Starters Danny Granger (knee) and George Hill (thumb) have yet to play, but with a full roster and it just being preseason, the coaches are being cautious and using the playing time to see the new guys.

Meantime, Atlanta brought on new leadership in the offseason, hiring Danny Ferry as President and General Manager. Right away, he cleaned up the roster by trading Joe Johnson and the nearly $90 million remaining over four years on his contract. In return, they received Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, and a lottery-protected first-round pick next year from Houston.

Along with the trade, Marvin Williams was sent to the Jazz for Devin Harris, they traded for Kyle Korver, and signed free-agent Lou Williams. It was an extremely busy offseason for the Hawks, to say the least. Plus, Al Horford is back after suffering a shoulder injury last January at Indiana that required surgery.

Horford, along with Josh Smith will test Indiana’s frontcourt, especially Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Pendergraph and rookie Miles Plumlee, who is expected to get extended playing time.

The Hawks won their first preseason game against Miami but have since dropped two straight on the road at San Antonio and Memphis while giving up more than 100 pts in each game. Like the Pacers, the Hawks have been shuffling their lineups, getting everybody adequate time. At point guard, the Hawks are stacked with Jeff Teague, Devin Harris and Lou Williams all at their position.

Probable Starters

Pacers

  • C – Roy Hibbert
  • F – Tyler Hansbrough
  • F – Gerald Green
  • G – Paul George
  • G – DJ Augustin

Timberwolves

  • C – Al Horford
  • F – Josh Smith
  • F – Kyle Korver
  • G – DeShawn Stevenson
  • G – Jeff Teague

Noteworthy

  • Gerald Green's big dunk on Minnesota was NBA.com’s top play of day Friday.
  • After a stellar performance last game, Ian Mahinmi may sit out to give rookie Miles Plumlee more time at center.
  • The Hawks have used a different starting lineup in each of their previous 3 preseason games.
  • Pike High School product Jeff Teague is Atlanta’s starting point guard. He averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 assists per game last season.
  • Devin Harris may play his first game in a Hawks uniform Tuesday.
  • The Hawks practiced at the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse Monday and while there, second-year forward Ivan Johnson broke one of the glass backboards.
  • More than a preseason game: Hawks GM Danny Ferry spent time Monday watching IU’s practice.
  • Like Friday’s home game, the new video board will be used, just not to full capabilities until Opening Night, Nov. 3rd.

Injury Update

Danny Granger is expected to sit out (sore tendon in his left knee) as is George Hill (sore left thumb). David West may get a few minutes, but the team will be cautious after he tweaked his right ankle and they’ll use his usual time to get a look at the second and third-string guys.

Last Meeting

Indiana won the first meeting last season, but the Hawks took the final two. Atlanta won 101-96 in Indianapolis on March 6th, led by 27-points from Josh Smith, who failed to score in the final quarter. He was on fire to start the game, nailing 12 of his first 15 shots.

David West led the Pacers with 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Granger added 19, and Hibbert finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds.

Atlanta won the battle of the boards 45-37 and scored 35 second-chance points. They also moved the ball well, recording 23 assists on 38 field goals. This was the Pacers' second loss during a four-game losing streak that also included East contenders Chicago, Miami, and Orlando.

Broadcast Information

The game is not televised. It can be heard in central Indiana on the flagship station, 1070 The Fan and statewide on the Pacers Radio Network.

Upcoming

The Pacers open the regular season Oct. 31st in Toronto, with the first home game being Saturday, November 3rd against the Sacramento Kings. Tickets for Opening Night go on sale to the General Public on October 18th. The next home preseason game is this Saturday, October 20th vs the Grizzlies ( Tickets » ).

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