Thursday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Philips Arena

Game Preview: Pacers at Hawks, Game 3

Pacers.com Staff | April 22, 2014

Matchup

The Pacers are in Atlanta for Game 3 and 4 of their best-of-seven first-round series against the Hawks, who came into Indianapolis and stole Game 1. It’s now up to the East’s top seed to win at least one game to regain home-court advantage.

The first two games were polar opposites from the Pacers’ standpoint. In Game 1, they failed to contain Jeff Teague, fouled too often and gave up a big third-quarter run to the Hawks. But in Game 2, the Pacers made a concerted effort to not only keep that from happening again, but also go on a run themselves — to the tune of 31-13.

More than anything, Indiana played with enthusiasm and a sense of urgency on the defensive end. They were diving after lose balls, helping on pick-and-roll sets and cutting hard. The Pacers played with desperation and that must continue.

Related: Pacers Ready for Next Test »

Pacers coach Frank Vogel made a couple adjustments in Game 2. He placed the lengthy and agile Paul George on point guard Jeff Teague and played a backcourt of George Hill and C.J. Watson for much of the game. That seemed to be effective and Hill certainly appreciated it because it allowed him to go back to playing off the ball. In turn, he was less tentative, not thinking as much and sliced through the Hawks’ defense for buckets at the rim. Vogel said he typically doesn’t like the two point-guard lineup, but this is a matchup where it is favorable.

Atlanta hasn’t been good to the Pacers over the last eight years or so. Up until their Game 6 first-round clinching victory last May, they had dropped 13 consecutive games at Philips Arena. Vogel said the team has moved past that, and is confident because they’ve won two of their last three times down there. This season, they lost by 10 in their first trip down there and then squeezed out a four-point win in early February.

Related: Steve Smith Talks Pacers-Hawks »

Just as the Pacers made adjustments, the Hawks will presumably do the same ahead of Thursday night’s clash at Philips Arena. One adjustment has to be with the involvement of sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who was guarded by Hill and limited to three points on 1-of-5 shooting. They will also perhaps create more action and sets to ease the pressure on Teague and create mismatches.

Game 3 tips off at 7 p.m. on Thursday and will air locally on FOX Sports Indiana.

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

Kyle Korver

Kyle Korver

DeMarre Carroll

DeMarre Carroll

Paul Millsap

Paul Millsap

Pero Antic

Pero Antic

Injury Update

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)

Quotable

“We got string (wins) together. We can’t get complacent, I know that. This team is playing at a really high level and is a serious threat to us. We can’t let our guard down at all. We got to have the same desperation that we played (with on Tuesday) going into Game 3.” – Frank Vogel

"I got more of a feeling of what he's going to do and his tendencies as the game went on. I could almost predict the times he was gonna go and the times where he was gonna just initiate offense. Throughout the game, I could gauge what action I was going to be dealing with." – Paul George on guarding Jeff Teague

“This is what the team needs and I just need to stop playing safe. I feel like when I play safe and not trying to turn the ball over or worry about getting guys involved, that’s when I tend to not be aggressive.” – George Hill on playing aggressive

“If we play hard, focused and with the energy we had (Tuesday), things are going to fall to our side. If we play the way we played in Game 1, we’re going to lose regardless of who we play and regardless of where we play, here or on the road.” – Luis Scola

“I think part of struggles have been that we haven’t been cutting hard enough, doing things hard enough and at a championship-type level and that’s what we need.” – C.J. Watson on their sharpness in Game 2

“We got to go down there and get at least one. They’re a good team, well-coached, and they have a lot of players that can shoot so we have to limit their 3-point attempts.” – Roy Hibbert

Noteworthy

  • Paul George had recorded a double-double in each of the first two games.
  • Being in front after three quarters bodes well for the Pacers, who are 48-3 this year when that is the case, including the postseason.
  • Atlanta was second in the league in assists per game (24.9) during the regular season, but has been held to 13 assists in each of the first two games.
  • The Hawks taking part in postseason play for the seventh consecutive year, the longest active playoff streak among Eastern Conference teams.

Last Meeting

April 22: The Pacers put their print on the third quarter just like they did early in the season, outscoring the Hawks 31-13 to turn a four-point deficit into a 14-point cushion. It was by far their best quarter of the year, hitting on 75 percent of shots attempted. They pressured up, locked in on both ends of the floor and received a 20-point contribution from Luis Scola off the bench in their 101-85 win.

Paul George was brilliant at both ends, locking down on Jeff Teague — a matchup change made before the game. George finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals. George Hill was his aggressive self in the second half, scoring 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter after a scoreless first half. C.J. Watson, who played alongside Hill much of the game, added 10 points. The Pacers held the Hawks to 29 percent shooting after they made half of their shots in the first half. Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 19 points and Teague was limited to 14, just two coming in the second half.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
NBA TV – Kevin Calabro (play-by-play), Steve Smith (analyst), Molly Sullivan (reporter)

Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)

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