Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 7:30 PM ET at Philips Arena
Game Preview: Pacers (28-6) at Hawks (18-17)
Scott Agness | January 7, 2014
One night after topping the Toronto Raptors at home, the Pacers (28-6) are in Atlanta for their first of four meetings this season against the Hawks (18-17).
Winning in Atlanta has been a challenge for the Pacers. They haven’t won a regular season meeting at Philips Arena since 2006, a stretch of 11 consecutive games. The home team won all four contests during last year’s regular season. The Pacers were able to change their luck in the first round of last year’s playoffs, as they closed out the series on the road in six games.
Losers of their previous three games, the Hawks will be without their leader when the Pacers come to town. Al Horford, who was averaging a team-high 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, is out for the remainder of the season. He tore his right pectoral muscle in a game on the day after Christmas and his injury required surgery.
First-year head coach Mike Budenholzer, who was an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs for the last 17 seasons, directs the Hawks. In addition to re-signing Indy native Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver, the Hawks added Paul Millsap and Elton Brand in the offseason. Millsap is now the team’s leading scoring, at 17.6 points per game.
The Hawks lead the league in assists per game (25.3), with Teague, the only Hawks player to start and play in every game this season, averaging eight a game by himself.
Indiana will have to push through any feelings of fatigue. Ahead of their fourth game in five nights, their recent offensive slide is partly due to their schedule and lack of practice time. Defense travels, but its their offensive flow that they’d like to restore. In their last five games, they’re averaging a little more than 90 points per game.
Hawks: Al Horford (out, right pectoral muscle surgery), John Jenkins (out, low back pain)
“They always give us a tough matchup, especially when we go down there and play them on their floor. We just got to expect the best out of them as well. It’ll be a different matchup without Al [Horford] being in so we’ll have to dial in on the other guys.” – Paul George
“At times through the years, we’ve struggled playing teams on the road. We’re doing better than we’ve done in the past, but that’s one area we must continue improving on. We got to come in and really play a consistent game and a solid game.” – Paul George
“Tomorrow's four in five nights, and there was a time I didn't think I'd ever play four in five nights. I'm handling [the grind of a season] well.” – Danny Granger
- The Pacers have won the last two regular season meetings.
- Kyle Korver has made a 3-pointer in 104 consecutive games. That’s the longest streak in NBA history, a record previously owned by Dana Barros (89).
- Hawks forward Paul Millsap is 48-of-56 at the foul line in his last six games, including 23 straight makes.
- Paul George’s shooting has dipped over the last five games. He’s 28-of-79 (35 percent) and averaging 16.8 points per game, which is more than seven points below his season average.
May 3: The Pacers got back to playing the high-level defense and rebounding that got them the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and held off a fourth-quarter charge by the Hawks for the 81-73 win, propelling them to the conference semi-finals. They took a 15-point lead into the final quarter but then the Hawks trimmed their lead down to three with less than three minutes to play. The Pacers clamped down and didn’t let the Hawks score again.
David West had 21 points and eight rebounds while George Hill finished with 21 points and seven boards. Roy Hibbert recorded his first double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) of the postseason. Al Horford led the Hawks with 15 points and Josh Smith had 14. The Pacers outscored the Hawks by 12 in the paint and had a +18 rebounding differential.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)