Saturday, April 27th, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT at Phillips Arena
Game Preview: IND vs ATL, Game 3
Scott Agness | April 25, 2013
Indiana protected its home court and has a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven first round series as they head down to Atlanta for Games 3 and 4. Once again, the teams have two days between games to rest, practice and make any further changes needed to the game plan.
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For the Pacers, that’s not much. They’re going to continuing playing their physical, team-first basketball that has gotten them this far. They clearly have the mental edge on the Hawks, who not only look disinterested, but checked out. The early moments in Saturday’s game will be key because it’ll be Atlanta’s last-ditch effort to stay in the series. Knock them out early, and the Pacers may be able to bring out the broomsticks.
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Paul George has been excellent in the series averaging 25 points (on 41.5 percent shooting), 9.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and one block in 41.5 mpg. The Hawks threw six different defenders his way and none of them were the answer. The other George – George Hill – hasn’t been too bad, either. Sore hip/groin and all, he’s shot 64 percent from the floor and is averaging 20 points through two games.
Will everything translate on the road? That’s the big question entering Saturday’s game. The Pacers lost both regular season games in Atlanta, though both came in 2012 before Indiana hit their stride. They are just 19-21 in road games this season. As an organization, they’ve lost 11 straight at Phillips Arena, but Pacers coach Frank Vogel doesn’t believe that means much because the core of his team has played just two years together. The crowd likely won’t play much of a factor, but not being in the comforts of Bankers Life Fieldhouse will. If multiple guys off the Pacers’ bench can keep it going, particularly Gerald Green, their chances are all the better.
Atlanta will likely throw a couple different looks at the Pacers, but mostly they need to have a renewed focus and energy. They must maintain their composure and take out their frustration on the Pacers, not each other or the officials.
Pacers: Lance Stephenson (day-to-day, bruised right hip), Danny Granger (out for the season, left knee)
Hawks: Josh Smith (day-to-day, right ankle sprain), Zaza Pachulia (out for the season, sore right Achilles), Lou Williams (out for the season, torn right ACL)
"I'm not really going to talk [to the team] about that at all...I wouldn't really look into it too much to be honest with you. I don't put a lot of credence into regular season games." - Frank Vogel on the team's losing streak in Atlanta
“We don’t really care about the past and it doesn’t mean anything now [because] in the playoffs were 0-0.” – George Hill on Indiana’s losing streak in Atlanta
“No, I just go with whoever is matched up with me. I’m confident and I think I’m mature enough to read the game, and read what the defenders are doing.” – Paul George on if he thinks about who’s defending him
“We are 0-2 in Atlanta. We have to have that in the back of our mind. Teams play well at home, so we’ll have to bring it.” – Paul George
“I got the best teammates in the world. I couldn’t be on a better team. Constantly all year, they’ve been giving me so much motivation and kept my spirits high. I have to give them a lot of credit for helping to make sure I’m ready.” – Gerald Green
“I’ll be fine. It was a good hard playoff foul. I’ll take that all day.” – George Hill, after Wednesday’s win with ice on his right elbow.
- The Pacers have won the last four meetings, all at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
- In 83 games this season, the Pacers have scored 100 points or more 28 times, including five of six contests against the Hawks.
- Hawks assistant coach Lester Conner spent three years on the Pacers bench under Jim O’Brien.
- Former Pacer Dahntay Jones, part of a trade deadline deal with Dallas, is now with Atlanta – as is former Butler standout Shelvin Mack.
- In franchise history, when the Pacers have won the first two games, they have went on to win the series every time (10-0).
- The Pacers’ 113 points in Game 2 against Atlanta marks the most points the Pacers have had in a playoff game since Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the L.A. Lakers in 2000 when they had 120 points.
April 24: The Pacers had no trouble handling the Hawks for the second time, winning 113-98. It was an emphasis for the Hawks to attack and guard the Pacers even tougher. The Hawks pressured their airspace, according to Paul George, who led all scorers with 27 points along with eight rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Josh Smith totaled 16 points but battled foul trouble all game long. The Hawks had an awful time managing their emotions, and were given three technical fouls. In the fourth, the Pacers blew the game open with a 15-1 run, allowing Frank Vogel to empty his bench with over three minutes to play.
George Hill has played through injuries but been a steady hand. He had 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting. The Pacers’ bench came up big and contributed 38 points. With 15 points, Gerald Green scored in double figures for the third-straight game. Devin Harris had 17 points and Al Horford finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta.
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