Watch Coach Vogel's pregame press conference (above) at 3:45 p.m. ET.
Saturday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m. ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers vs Hawks, Game 7
Scott Agness | Updated: May 2, 2014, 5:45 p.m.
The Pacers worked all season to have Game 7 on their home floor; they just didn’t expect to have to have it happen so soon into the playoffs. A raucous, sellout crowd is expected for a "Gold Out" on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the season on the line for the Pacers and Hawks. The critical final game in this first round series will be televised nationally on TNT, leading off a triple-header of Game 7s.
Both teams received good news late Friday, when the NBA announced that no suspensions would be handed down following a minor dust-up in Game 6. They evaluated both the incident, between George Hill and Mike Scott, and whether players left the “immediate vicinity” of their respective benches.
At this point in the series, and after playing each other 10 times this season, the Pacers and Hawks know each other’s tendencies and plays. For the Pacers, it’s about coming out with fight, not falling behind early as they have numerous times in the series, and keeping the Hawks off the foul line.
Paul George has been spectacular in the postseason, scoring 24 points or more in five of the six games. He and David West elevated their games in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s game to bring it back home. And that was just the perfect birthday gift for George, who turned 24 on Friday.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Friday that he has “seriously considered” making a change to the starting lineup before each game. However, with the Hawks speed and ability to get to the hole, he sternly believes that they need a 7-footer on the floor most of the time to protect the rim. He did choose to play small ball part of the time in Game 6, and said Chris Copeland helped fixed a few things during his 18-minute stint on Thursday.
For all the talk about the centers before the series, the Hawks’ best weapon has been guard Jeff Teague, an Indy native. He’s critical in that he is not only quick, but also can drill shots from the perimeter. His penetration also causes Indiana to collapse and thus opens things up for everyone else. Teague is averaging 19.8 points and 5.3 assists in this series while shooting almost 41 percent from the field. Forward Paul Millsap has been as consistent as they come, scoring 14 or more points in every game in the series while averaging 9.8 rebounds.
So far in this series, neither team has won consecutive games. Frank Vogel and his team hope they can pull it off, and move on to the second round. The winner will open against the Washington Wizards on Monday night.
Pacers: Solomon Hill (inactive, back), 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)
“Three of the last four times we played these guys (at home), they built a 20-point lead and beat us pretty good. I don’t think anybody in our organization can have any kind of level of ‘OK, we’re good. We’re at home.’ We know this team can beat us here.” – Frank Vogel
“Every possession counts. I don’t think we really took that to heart last Game 7 against Miami. Every possession counts at that point. The times where you’re tired, you’re worn out, you have to fight through that because again, it’s win or go home from here.” – Paul George
“We’ve played all year for this, to get Game 7s in our building. The energy is going to be great. We just have to handle our business.” – David West
“They’re a good team and they have us in the spread-5 and are making tough shots. They made tough 3s and it was just hard for us to recover. We just made a couple switches and it is easier for us to penetrate on defense.” – Lance Stephenson on the Hawks
“We’ll just play our style of basketball, pushing the tempo. We have to play with the pass a little bit more, especially on the road. We only had 14 assists tonight. We definitely have to move the basketball and put pressure on their defense.” – Paul Millsap
- The Pacers are 0-10 all-time when trailing 3-2 in a best-of-seven series. The Hawks, meanwhile, are 0-8 all-time when playing Game 7 on the road.
- All fans in attendance will receive a gold t-shirt. Gold Out »
May 1: The Pacers closed the game on a 16-4 run to upend the Hawks, 95-88, on their home floor and force a decisive Game 7. David West came up huge for Indiana, scoring 12 of his 24 points in the final quarter. The Pacers, who were previously 0-4 in franchise history playing Game 6 on the road and trailing 3-2, held the Hawks to 36 percent shooting and kept their free throws to a minimum in the victory.
David West and Paul George each scored 24 points and Lance Stephenson added 21, along with nine rebounds. George Hill scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half. Hawks guard Jeff Teague tallied a postseason career-best 29 points and Paul Millsap had another strong game, finishing with 16 points and 18 rebounds, which tied his postseason career-high.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: TNT - Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Greg Anthony (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)
Ticket Information & Gold Out
Select seats remain for Saturday's Game 7 against the Hawks. Find Tickets »
The Pacers have announced all fans in attendance for Game 7 of the First Round matchup against the Atlanta Hawks will receive a free gold T-shirt upon arrival to their seats. The T-shirt will feature the Playoff theme of Blue Collar Gold Swagger. Gold Out Returns »