Tuesday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers vs Hawks, Game 2
Scott Agness | April 20, 2014
Rally Towel Giveaway
The Pacers have announced all fans in attendance for Game 2 of the First Round matchup against the Atlanta Hawks will receive a free Blue Collar Gold Swagger rally towel. Select tickets for Tuesday's Game 2 matchup have just been released. Find Tickets »
The Pacers took great pride in owning the East’s top seed, but just one game into their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks, the Pacers find themselves trailing 1-0. They weren’t the only favored team to drop the first one. The lower seed went 5-3 across the league.
Having two days between games favors the team that dropped the previous game because it allows more time to make adjustments. The Pacers most certainly will make some, likely more scheme-wise than in terms of personnel and lineups.
As Lance Stephenson put it, “Of course we’re going to make changes. We’re not allowed to talk about the changes we’ve made.”
It starts with playing with a punch from the tip. On Saturday, the Pacers once again trailed early and had to fight their way back. They did enough to take a lead and go into halftime without losing any ground, but playing from in front fixes a number of things, including body language. The game was lost in the third quarter, though, when Paul George went back to the locker room with a quad injury and David West got in foul trouble. During that span, the Hawks took firm control by going on a 14-0 run.
Indiana’s defensive execution as a whole must improve. Pacers coach Frank Vogel called it "not good enough." He was unhappy with their coverages and said that their efforts to keep guys out of the lane were poor. Containing Hawks point guard Jeff Teague is priority number one. He tallied a game-high 28 points in Game 1 and was able to get into the lane at will. George said he would spend some time on Teague, smiling about the opportunity. The Pacers will also be playing guys with a little more distance in hopes of the Hawks shooting more rather than converting plays at the rim.
For the Pacers, players cannot just be focused on guarding their man one-on-one, but rather as a team. They have to be communicating, in their gaps, and get a hand out on shooters. Vogel has stressed to his team the importance of playing smart defense, disciplined at the point of contact as the Hawks rely on the whistle a lot by throwing their bodies and “hope the whistle blows.”
It’s not just their defense, however. The Pacers’ offense resembled their play in March, featuring 17 turnovers and the lack of an inside-out game.
The Pacers admittedly need more out of their frontline. David West and Luis Scola both struggled to see the ball go through the hoop in Game 1, and Roy Hibbert’s offensive struggles remain. Defensively, Hibbert is most effective at the rim so perhaps Vogel will implement some sort of zone — they haven’t used a zone all season — that allows him to maintain his ground while the other four guys mark the shooters.
It’s a seven-game series, but the Pacers recognize the importance of getting a win on Tuesday to even things up before heading to Atlanta for Games 3 and 4.
Pacers: Andrew Bynum (out, sore right knee)
Hawks: Gustavo Ayon (right shoulder surgery), Al Horford (out, right pectoral muscle surgery), John Jenkins (out, lower back surgery)
“No. Our emphasis to win every game is as high as it can possibly be every night, especially in the playoffs.” – Frank Vogel on whether this game has more meaning
“I need to see better ball movement, better commitment to keep [Jeff] Teague out of the lane, do a better job on [Paul] Millsap, a better job on [Kyle] Korver and just a better job on the defensive end.” – Frank Vogel on what he needs to see to win the series
“We take away the free throw line and easy baskets and really force this team to score on us in the half-court, you know it’s going to be a tough game for them.” – Paul George
“We’re trying to play without mistakes and when you play thinking about mistakes, you make mistakes. We just got to play loose.” – Lance Stephenson on overthinking things
“Once we start feeding off our defense, that’s when we always play our best offense — and that’s what we didn’t do in the third quarter. We were taking the ball out of the net a little bit too much and fouling a lot.” George Hill
“We’re upset, hungry, hurt — ready to go out there and compete.” – Roy Hibbert
- The Hawks have won the last two meetings; the team that has taken Game 1 in their five previous postseason matchups has won the series.
- Roy Hibbert is 13-of-42 from the field in five games against the Hawks this season.
April 19: Atlanta’s Jeff Teague (28 points) and Paul Millsap (25) had their way against the Pacers in Atlanta's 101-93 Game 1 win, taking home-court advantage from Indiana. The Pacers struggled containing the Hawks, particularly Teague, all night and then struggled to find a rhythm offensively. Tied at the break, the Hawks outscored the Pacers 30-16 in the third and cruised to victory.
Paul George topped the Pacers with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Lance Stephenson had 19, nine coming in the second frame. The Hawks nailed 11 3-pointers, limited their turnovers (12) and made 24-of-29 free throws in the win.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: TNT – Joel Meyers (play-by-play), Chris Webber (analyst), Molly Sullivan (reporter)
NOTE: FOX Sports Indiana will air a postgame show immediately following the conclusion of Game 2, hosted by Chris Denari, Quinn Buckner, and Brooke Olzendam.
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
Select tickets for Tuesday's Game 2 matchup have been released. All fans in attendance will receive a free rally towel. Find Tickets »