113
98

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 7:30 PM EDT at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Rewind: IND 113, ATL 98, Game 2

by Scott Agness | April 24, 2013 | Updated April 25, 2:05 AM

Game Recap

The Pacers expected a different Atlanta Hawks team in Game 2. They expected an opponent with a little edge to them along with a few adjustments to counter how the Pacers beat them in Game 1 on Sunday. After all, Pacers coach Frank Vogel said earlier this week that the biggest number of adjustments in a series come between Game 1 and 2.

Though the Hawks threatened at times, and there was a tight whistle throughout which affected the game, the Pacers went in front late in the first quarter and expanded their lead to as many as 24 in the fourth. With a 113-98 victory Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Pacers defended their home floor and went ahead 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

From the opening tip, you could sense an added intensity from the visiting Hawks. They made a point to be aggressive, getting to the foul line less than two minutes into the game (after just 14 attempts in the first game) and attacking the rim. It paid off as Atlanta scored 12 of its first 17 points in the lane. A big shift came two minutes and 12 seconds into the conteset when Hawks forward Josh Smith picked up his second foul and would deal with foul trouble the rest of the game. Later in the first, Lance Stephenson was called for a charge and landed hard on his right hip. He required assistance getting off the floor, but did return in the second half. To close the first stanza, the Pacers went on a 13-4 spurt and led by six, 25-19.

Related: Pacers Look to Stay the Course »

Paul George, who was honored as the NBA’s Most Improved Player on Tuesday morning, got in rhythm early. The Hawks began with Devin Harris on him, and later five other guys were thrown his way but it didn’t matter. He connected on six of his first 10 shots and had 16 points by half’s end. Both Roy Hibbert and Gerald Green threw down memorable dunks but Indiana’s lead, which felt like double figures, was actually just five.

Indiana’s bench, which has been a big question all season, came up big in the second period. Green and D.J. Augustin, who ran the point and slid George Hill to the 2 while Stephenson was out, each buried two 3-pointers. As a bunch that's averaged just 26 points per game this season, the Pacers bench scored 24 in the second quarter alone and gave the Pacers a 59-50 lead at the break.

In the third, the Pacers kept pounding away at the Hawks. They shot 55% from the floor in the period and built some separation late. David West threw a pass the length of the floor to Green for a dunk to end the period and take a 12-point lead into the fourth.

During a five-minute span in the final period, the Pacers utilized a 15-1 run to blow the game open. Ahead by 23 with 3:10 remaining, Vogel was able to empty his bench and prevent further bruising to some of his guys.

Related: Agness' Takeaways From First Two Games »

It was imperative for the Pacers to take this one for three reasons: First, to maintain the home court advantage they worked so hard for during the regular season. Second, to head down to Atlanta, where they’ve lost 11-consecutive games, with a 2-0 lead. Thirdly, to remove any confidence the Hawks, a team that has looked disinterested in stretches throughout the series, may have had.

Indiana still needs improvement from their defense after nearly allowing Atlanta to shoot 50 percent for the second game in a row. But, taking a 2-zip lead in the series is a big deal. The last six times they’ve won the first two games in a best-of-seven series, they’ve advanced to the next round.

Inside the Numbers

Paul George followed up his triple-double in Game 1 with 27 points, eight rebounds, four steals, three assists and zero turnovers in 39 minutes of action. George Hill scored 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Roy Hibbert and Gerald Green each tallied 15 points.

Devin Harris paced the Hawks with 17 points. Josh Smith battled foul trouble all night but still scored 16 points in less than 20 minutes. With 13 points and 10 rebounds, Al Horford recorded the game’s only double-double.

Indiana outscored the Hawks in every quarter and by three points in each of the final three.

Despite the Hawks’ additional pressure and physical play, the Pacers turned the ball over just 10 times.

The Pacers improved to 24-4 this season when scoring 100 points.

Quoteworthy

“That’s probably the most impressive thing about the whole game. Not only were [the Hawks] being physical but they were trying to take our air space more and trying to pressure us more defensively and force more turnovers. We had less turnovers in Game 2 than we had in Game 1.” – Frank Vogel on the Pacers maintaining their composure

“When Paul’s got his shot going like he does, I think he’s a matchup nightmare for any team. They’ve got some great defenders on their team and they got great defensive scheme ... but when Paul’s going like that, he’s pretty tough to stop.” – Frank Vogel on Paul George

“They played very physical but we handed it back to them and won the game. My [right] hip is horrible but I’m going to pull through it.” – Lance Stephenson

“They tried to make us a little more uncomfortable on the offensive end but we’ve got built in counters for that. Ball movement takes care of that.” – David West

“When the starters come out, the bench is able to maintain the lead or even increase. That’s great and something we didn’t have last year…We have a complete team with a bench that can score.” – Roy Hibbert

“I got the best teammates in the world. I couldn’t be on a better team. Constantly all year, they’ve been giving me so much motivation and kept my spirits high. I have to give them a lot of credit for helping to make sure I’m ready.” – Gerald Green

“I’ll be fine. It was a good hard playoff foul. I’ll take that all day.” – George Hill, with ice on his right elbow

“It threw a damper in the game too early when he picked up two quick fouls and we had to bring him out of the game. When we made adjustments Indiana countered with some big plays and the really hurt us.” – Hawks coach Larry Drew on their adjustments after Josh Smith got in foul trouble

Stat of the Game

Indiana’s bench scored 38 points, outscoring Atlanta’s by 11.

Noteworthy

  • Devin Harris, Al Horford, and Ivan Johnson each received technical fouls in the first half.
  • Before the game, Danny Granger, the 2009 winner of the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year award, presented this year’s award to Paul George.
  • Atlanta entered the game 1-23 all-time in a best-of-seven series when losing Game 1, including 22 straight.
  • Actor/comedian Mike Epps, Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson and punter Pat McAfee along with Fever players Tamika Catchings, Jessica Davenport and Jeanette Pohlen were among those in attendance.

Up Next

Once again, the series has two days in between games. Game 3 is on Saturday in Atlanta at 7 PM EST.

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