Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 8:00 PM EDT at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview: IND vs ATL, Game 5

Scott Agness | April 30, 2013

Arrive Early: Due to recent events, security measures have been enhanced at most public venues including Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Ticketholders may see additional security personnel and might possibly experience some delay at entry, so they should plan accordingly. Fans attending the Pacers game on Wednesday, May 1 are reminded that tip-off is at 8:00 p.m. and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. We trust everyone will understand and appreciate that safety for all is the primary concern.

Matchup

Thus far, the home team has held serve – not just in the postseason but also in all eight meetings this season. That favors the Pacers, who hold home court advantage in what has essentially become a best-of-three series, beginning Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers will be looking to bounce back after Game 3 and 4 losses down in Atlanta. Hawks head coach Larry Drew started a bigger lineup in both of those games, inserting Johan Petro at center, which slid Josh Smith and Al Horford to the forward positions. In turn, Paul George has been matched up against Smith, a taller, bigger, and more experienced player.

George is still getting comfortable defending larger frame players and he can’t do it alone. Help-side defenders, usually Roy Hibbert, have to be ready to assist. On Monday, Smith finished with 29 points, a playoff-career-high, and 11 rebounds.

Related: Pacers Facing Big Challenge »

As a team, the Pacers’ defense needs to be elevated. They led the league in most statistical categories during the regular season, but it hasn’t carried into the playoffs. They have allowed the Hawks to shoot at least 50 percent from the field in the first half of every game of the series. The first half, or more specifically first quarter, is where the games have been determined. In all four games, whichever team held the lead at the end of the first has remained in front for the rest of the way.

In addition to getting back to the basics and playing with a high motor, both items Pacers coach Frank Vogel stressed ahead of Game 4, they still need to work on making the Hawks uncomfortable. They also need to improve their transition defense, which has given up too many points in the lane and getting a hand on the shooters, especially on the perimeter. Kyle Korver, for one, can knock down a 3-pointer at will, as he did on Monday – five of them to be specific.

Related: Getting Back Home, Back on Their Feet »

And, as usual, the Pacers need players off their bench to step in, contribute and not allow a drop-off. Vogel recently shrunk his rotation to nine guys, and shuffled Ian Mahinmi back to backup center, rather than Jeff Pendergraph.

One player to watch is Pacers forward David West. He was the team’s most reliable player throughout the regular season, but in the playoffs he’s admittedly been off his game. From a statistics standpoint, he’s averaged 13 points and 5.5 rebounds in this series.

After the Pacers’ 15-point Game 2 victory, which put them up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, the momentum was clearly in their favor. However, the Hawks going back home and playing in front of Atlanta fans was just what they needed. With the Pacers returning to the Fieldhouse, they’re hoping for a boost from the home crowd to do a little home cooking.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Jeff Teague

Jeff Teague

Devin Harris

Devin Harris

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Al Horford

Al Horford

Johan Petro

Johan Petro

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out for the season, left knee)
Hawks: Zaza Pachulia (out for the season, sore right Achilles), Lou Williams (out for the season, torn right ACL)

Quotable

"They took care of their business, we got to take care of ours now back at our home court in Game 5." – Frank Vogel

"We know we play well at home. The road is somewhere we’re still learning to get wins and learning to play together, but at home we’re very comfortable." – Paul George

“That’s a great Atlanta team over there, and we knew it was going to be a tough series; we knew they weren’t going to lay down. But we know we have two more games at home in this series if necessary." – George Hill

"I think we won Game 1 and Game 2 so easily that maybe we lost sight of how good this basketball team is. Now, we understand that." – Frank Vogel on the Hawks

"We got to continue to be aggressive and we got to get shots at the rim but we got to finish. We talked about that [Tuesday] in the film session – just finishing around the rim and finishing plays. I think we left 40 points or something like that around the basket." – David West

"The third quarter [Tuesday night] was the first time we really fought defensively and played our style of game…I think that’s why we’re upset that we weren’t able to capitalize. It was a five or seven point game there and we felt like it was ours for the taking." – David West

"Defense is going to win basketball games. Doesn’t matter if you’re offense is not clicking on all cylinders, as long as you’re defending the right away, it gives you a chance…if you’re not making shots and you’re not defending, that’s the ball game." – George Hill

Noteworthy

  • All four games in the series have been decided by double digits, with the average margin of victory being 16 points.
  • The Pacers are 4-0 vs. Atlanta this season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
  • The Hawks have lost seven consecutive road playoff games.

Last Meeting

April 29: The Hawks used a 22-3 run spanning the end of the first quarter and into the second to take full control of the game. They connected on 7-of-8 outside shots in the second quarter to build a lead as large as 19. Indiana made a valiant effort to get back in the game, and trimming their deficit to five with less than two minutes to play. Josh Smith went off for a new playoff-career-high 29 points and 11 rebounds as the Hawks evened the series at two, with a 102-91 win in Atlanta.

Paul George paced the Pacers with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Finished with 19 points off the bench on 7-of-11 shooting, Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver had his best game of the series. Al Horford added 18 points. The Pacers won the battle of the paint 42-28 but the Hawks attempted 38 free throws in the win, connecting on 25 of them.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings | Broadcast Schedule

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (host/sideline reporter)
NBA TV – Kevin Calabro (play-by-play), Greg Anthony (analyst), Steve Smith (analyst), Dei Lynam (reporter)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Michael Grady (host)

Ticket Information

Get your tickets for the next playoff game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Find Tickets »

Playoff Tickets »
Purchase First Round Playoff tickets here